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Beverly Jenkins -- Setting as Character

On August 28, DARA welcomes Beverly Jenkins to share with us about “Setting as Character.”

Join us for a morning presentation that will undoubtedly improve your craft. What ties your story to reality? Does your setting enhance the mood and theme of your work? Will people who know the area or the history write to you to tell you what you got wrong?

Everyone is welcome to join us for the meeting, which will be held August 28 on Zoom. We have social time at 9 am, followed by a short business meeting at 9:30 am. Our speaker starts about 10 am. All times are Central.

Guests are asked to email for an invitation. There is no fee to attend this meeting.

Much of Beverly’s settings come from history, and getting things accurate is vital. “I knew when I did Night Song, which was my very first book, based on the all-black towns in Kansas after the Great Exodus of 1879, that if I was going to present this story to the public, it had to be accurate. So you wind up doing things like, what did they wear, what did they eat, how long does it take a train to go from Denver to Kansas City, where were the railroads, how were black people expected to act in public — all of those little things that all historical romance and historians do when you write fiction — you have to have it correct. I mean, you can’t just make up stuff, because it doesn’t serve your story, it doesn’t serve you as a writer, and it doesn’t serve your readers.” (LINK TO ARTICLE)

Travel and research are the keys to keeping the settings true. “I travel to historic places around the country to visually survey settings that I may be considering. I also use my local library and the Internet to research flora, fauna, average temperature, topography, the state bird or whatever else may be needed to give the setting a true feel. I’ve written a six-book series set in a small town on the plains of Kansas but have never been there.” (LINK TO ARTICLE)

She also does trips with her fans, as the Popular Romance Project chronicled in one of it’s videos of her in Charleston, SC. “I tell people I like to put my stories where African American people really walked, and I put my stories on top of that.” (LINK TO VIDEO)

One of her fans said, “Now I understand all the history she puts in her books. How it’s so accurate because she’s been there. She’s seen everything.”


Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance.

She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured both in the documentary “Love Between the Covers” and on BS Sunday Morning.

Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR.

You can find Beverly’s website at

For more interviews with Beverly Jenkins in which she discusses setting, click on any of the following links:

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