Jackson, Monica (Monika Elaine)
JACKSON, Monica (Monika Elaine)
PERSONAL: Born in KS; children: one daughter.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Kensington Publishing Corporation, 850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Writer and registered nurse.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Multicultural Romance, Romantic Times, 1999, for The Look of Love; Award of Excellence, Romance in Color, 2000, for Never Too Late for Love.
Midnight Blue, Kensington (New York, NY), 1997.
Love's Celebration, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 1998.
Heart's Desire, Kensington (New York, NY), 1998.
A Magical Moment, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 1999.
Never Too Late for Love, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2000.
The Look of Love, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2000.
Too Hot to Handle, Arabesque (Washington, DC), 2001.
In My Dreams, Kensington/Dafina Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to anthologies, including Something to Celebrate, Kensington (New York, NY), 1999; Midnight Clear, Genesis, 2000; (as Monika Elaine) Desires, AmarMira Press, 2000; Souls of My Sisters, Kensington (New York, NY), 2000; Getting Merry: A Holiday Anthology, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002; The Sistahood of Shopaholics, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003; and Dark Thirst, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2004.
ADAPTATIONS: Midnight Blue was adapted for television by Black Entertainment Television, 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: Monica Jackson is a writer whose characters, particularly in her more recent writing, are often very much like their creator: proud, black, self-confident, plus-size women who have their lives under control. Jackson has established a career writting novels, novellas, and short stories while raising her daughter and working as a registered nurse and nurse manager. Her first novel, Midnight Blue, was made into a television movie by Black Entertainment Television, and several of her romance novels have been published by the network's imprint, Arabesque. Her debut is a gothic romance in which Jessica, a female executive, is the victim of lies that color her boss's opinion of her. But when the truth is exposed, they become lovers, only to have their relationship threatened by his dark family secrets and the spectre of his dead wife.
Love's Celebration is set during the Kwanzaa holiday. Teddi Henderson's husband, J. T., disappeared two years earlier for a reason unknown to her: He and his partner had discovered government secrets that made them targets. J. T. left because he loved Teddi and his daughter, and when he returns Teddi mistakes him for an intruder and shoots him. He heals, and convinces her of the truth, but his return must remain a secret in order to ensure his safety. Cheryl Ferguson wrote in RomanticTimes.com that Jackson "has written a heartwarming, Christmas/Kwanzaa story that will reign in our memories for years to come."
In Heart's Desire, Kara Smith is intent on avenging the death of her late mother, who was seen as a political liability and abandoned by Kara's father, a wealthy U.S. senator. Kara goes to Washington and seduces her father's assistant, then blackmails him into giving her a job in her father's office. The novel includes elements of romance, suspense, adventure.
The protagonist in A Magical Moment is Taylor Cates, an attorney who works with residents of a battered women's shelter who often tell her they wish their husbands were dead. When these despised men begin to be found murdered, Taylor meets private investigator Stone Emerson, who is working for the husband of a shelter resident who has received death threats. When Taylor becomes a suspect, Stone works fast to find the murderer before the woman he now loves becomes the fall guy or worse, a target. Ferguson called A Magical Moment "an interesting blend of paranormal, suspense, and romance that defies the traditional conventions of romantic suspense."
Tiffany Eastman, one of the shelter women in Heart's Desire, is the central character in Never Too Late for Love. Tiffany has recovered from spousal abuse and years of alcoholism, and is now in her late forties. When she and widower Jason Cates fall in love, she holds back, unsure as to whether she can trust again and fearful of telling him the truth about her past. But when a tragedy strikes, they both find the strength and develop an openness that leads to the kind of passion that neither had ever before felt.
It is in novels like The Look of Love that Jackson debunks the stereotypes of the perfect woman. Her heroine in this outing is Carmel Matthews, who is pursued by the handsome Steve Reynolds, a doctor who is mesmerized by Carmel but who has to work to overcome her resistance and fears. Tiffany's daughter, Jenny, is the protagonist in Too Hot to Handle, about a love-em-and-leave-em kind of guy who is the focus of a women's group called Scorned, most of whose members have been tossed off by Jared Cates. RomanticTimes.com reviewer Pamela Tullos praised the novel for its portrayal of friendship and loyalty.
In My Dreams features Bless Sanderson, a full-figured woman with second sight who travels to Atlanta to protect her pregnant sister and her unborn child. In a story titled "The Ultimate Diet," included in the anthology Dark Thirst, Angelica is an overweight woman whose best friend, Keeshia, becomes a vampire in order to lose weight. Jackson continues to combine unusual themes in her paranormal novels and stories that appeal to a growing number of fans. On her Web site, she wrote, "I'm not interested in writing perfect characters. My heroines are a hair on the left side of different—if you know what I mean. I will always write about real and confident main characters who are overweight and struggling with acne, stretch marks, a smart mouth, and/or some other perceived flaw. And I think being undead is about as big a flaw as one can have."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Issues Book Review, November-December, 2003, Kalyn Johnson, review of The Sistahood of Shopaholics, p. 51.
Library Journal, May 15, 1999, review of A Magical Moment, p. 83.
Monica Jackson Home Page, http://www.monicajackson.com (November 16, 2004).
RomanticTimes.com, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (November 16, 2004), Cheryl Ferguson, reviews of Midnight Blue, Love's Celebration, Heart's Desire, and A Magical Moment; Pamela Dungee, review of Never Too late for Love; Pamela Tullos, review of Too Hot to Handle.