Under her pseudonym Michelle Lindo Rice, Zoey Marie Jackson has published a variety of books and has won multiple awards. Her debut novel, SING A NEW SONG, was a Black Expressions Bestseller and Editor’s Choice Feature Selection. She is the 2015 winner of the Black Writers and Book Clubs Rock Female Author of the Year Award and a recipient of the 2017 Black Pearls Legend & Leader Award. Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University. For Love Inspired, she will write under the pseudonym Zoey Marie Jackson.
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Zoey Marie Jackson: I believe in love and its power. I had been married before but it wasn’t until I was 44 that I met and married the love of my life. My best friend. So, never give up on love. I am also a proud mother of two military sons: one serves in the Navy and the other in the Air Force.
H: Why do you love writing romance novels?
ZMJ: I love writing romance novels because there is nothing more satisfying than watching two characters and their journey to love. You know their happy-ever-after is coming but you don’t know how they will get there and that’s what makes it creative and intriguing. Jane Eyre was my first romance and I was hooked. I’m grateful to get others hooked on romances as well.
H: What were the steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
ZMJ: Earlier I said never give up on love; now I’ll add, never give up on your desire to be a writer. It took me twelve years before my first book was published and now eight years later, I get to write for Harlequin. Harlequin! I was that reader who would leave the library with a stack of romance novels and return the next day for more. Soon I turned to writing as a means of therapy, and there is a joy in seeing the product of your hard work and holding a print copy in your hands. It never gets old.
H: What one piece of advice would you offer aspiring writers?
ZMJ: Read. Read. Read. Read a lot of books in the genre you desire to write. I am an avid reader and I read across genres. I learn so much by reading. Reading is fuel for writers. It propels you. And, if I could add another: in this world, there are many no’s. All you need is one yes so keep going, keep growing.
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
ZMJ: My agent, Latoya Smith, called me with the good news. We worked together to craft a proposal after answering a Twitter call—and I was so excited, I had to ask Latoya to give me a moment so I could shout for joy. Once I was off the phone, I thanked God before calling my hubby. Then I called close family and friends, who kept my secret until the official announcement.
Now let’s hear from her editor, Dina Davis!
A while back, I was rewatching Sister, Sister, one of my favorite shows from when I was a kid, and I tweeted a #mswl (manuscript wish list) asking for a book where younger twins separated at birth bring together their adoptive parents. I was thrilled when Zoey took the idea and ran with it! Her story is so much more emotional and sweet than I’d hoped for, and I can’t wait for readers to get their hands on it!
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Congrats again, Zoey! And stay tuned, readers, for more I Got the Call stories from our debut authors.