PERSONAL: Female; born in Paris, TX; children.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked in technical sales and corporate purchasing. Military service: Served in U.S. Navy during the Persian Gulf War.
And on the Eighth Day She Rested, St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2003.
One Day I Saw a Black King, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Don't Want No Sugar, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Confessions of the Other Woman, a novel.
SIDELIGHTS: In an interview posted on the People Who Love Good Books Web site, author J.D. Mason spoke of her passion for writing: "Writing is something I absolutely have to do. Even if Fm not writing books, every single day, Fm writing something, either on my computer, or on a notebook I have to carry with me." Mason continued: "It's an outlet for me, my voice, and setting my words free on paper, for me, means setting them free, period. Fhere's not enough room for all of them inside me."
Mason self-published her first novel, And on the Eighth Day She Rested, in 2001. Two years later, St. Martin's Griffin published the title. Ruth, the protagonist of the story, has endured fourteen years of physical abuse at the hands of her husband, Eric, when she finally decides to end the marriage. As a result of this decision, Eric attacks Ruth and she is then admitted to the hospital. It is there that she meets Clara, an older woman who becomes a mentor to Ruth. Ruth also relies on Bernice, her best friend; May, who helps Ruth with her weight problem; and Adrian, a supportive new love interest. The novel elicited mixed reviews, and a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that in the story, "likable people don't quite rescue an amateurish debut." However, the contributor called it a "Cinderella makeover" with "a noble cause."
Mason followed And on the Eighth Day She Rested with One Day I Saw a Black King. The novel tells the story of John King; his mother died during childbirth, and he was raised by an emotionally distant grandmother. Eater in his life John meets Connie Rogers, whose past is equally tragic, and the two strangers fall in love. Glenn Townes, writing in the Black Issues Book Review, called One Day I Saw a Black King an "unhurried, moving story." However, Townes pointed out that "the plight of John and Connie becomes somewhat redundant." Lillian Lewis, reviewing the book for Booklist, felt differently, and stated that "Mason tells an engaging story."
Mason's next book, Don't Want No Sugar, is a prequel to One Day I Saw a Black King. The novel follows multiple generations of an African-American family from Texas as they deal with love, death, and adultery. Many reviewers responded favorably to Mason's third novel. Although dubbing the plot "cartoonish," a Publishers Weekly critic concluded that "Mason's flair for fast-moving narration makes this an easy read." Writing again for Booklist, Lewis noted that "Mason's prequel … is full of surprises and answers." Similarly, Claudia Sarden, a contributor for the Black Issues Book Review, called Mason a "a master storyteller," and stated that Don't Want No Sugar contains "elegant prose, exquisite humor, and luminous scenes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Issues Book Review, January-February, 2004, Glenn Fownes, review of One Day I Saw a Black King, p. 53; January-February, 2005, Claudia Sarden, review of Don't Want No Sugar, p. 63.
Booklist, September 1, 2003, Lillian Lewis, review of One Day I Saw a Black King, p. 57; September 1, 2004, Lillian Lewis, review of Don't Want No Sugar, p. 62.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of And on the Eighth Day She Rested, p. 1793.
Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2004, review of Don't Want No Sugar, p. 57.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (March 23, 2006), Tracy Alexander, review of And on the Eighth Day She Rested; (March 23, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Don't Want No Sugar.
G.R.I.T.S. Online Reading Club, http://www.thegritsbookclub.com/ (March 23, 2006), interview with author.
Literary World, http://www.literaryworld.org/ (March 23, 2006), Lauretta Pierce, interview with author.
People Who Love Good Books, http://peoplewholuvgoodbook.tripod.com/ (March 23, 2006), interview with author.