Interview with Author Angela Jackson-Brown

Ariana Mehmeti, Staff Writer

On Monday, April 22nd, 2024 I was lucky enough to sit down with author Angela Jackson-Brown to discuss her most recent book Homeward, and interview her hours before her Red Dragon Reading. The first question I asked Jackson-Brown was, what inspired her to become an author in the first place? Ms Jackson-Brown told me, “Well I come from a long line of storytellers, my father, and his brothers weren’t educated men but were all professional storytellers, and so for us on a Saturday afternoon we would all sit around and listen to them tell their stories. This was something I would always look forward to and it was something I wanted to emulate in my own writing, so even though I have advanced degrees, I always wanted my writing to sound like I was writing from the voice of the people and not from an academic.” 

The second question I asked Angela was what authors were her inspirations and why? Jackson-Brown responded, “I really fell in love with Octavia Butler, the science fiction author, she was the first black woman to write, or rather to publish science fiction. I always enjoyed reading it but it wasn’t until I discovered her work that I felt like, ‘Oh wow, maybe I could have an opportunity to read science fiction and I have been tinkering with it some. I love Langston Hughes, he was the first African American poet I remember reading and seeing stories that were written about my culture. It was just really inspiring.” 

The third question I asked her was, what was the most challenging scene or chapter to write in her most recent book, Homeward, and what made it so difficult? She told me, “There is a particular scene, well there are series of scenes where deaths take place and it was emotionally draining for the characters in the book that experienced it, but as the writer it was also emotionally draining I had to work really hard to stay in the moment and stay focused in the craft of writing and not get caught up in the emotions of what they are feeling.” 

The fourth question I asked was, what does she hope a reader will take away from her book Homeward? She told me, “Well it’s two things, one is that I want them to understand how close we are in time, logistically to the past. Oftentimes when people hear that I am a historical fiction writer they think of archaic times, but I am literally writing about the 60s, so I am writing about a time period that I was born during so it’s not as ancient as we think. I want people to recognize the importance of knowing about history. But I also want people to recognize that as a society, we have to give ourselves the grace that it takes time for evolution to happen, and the times I am writing about and the lessons that need to be learned from it, it might be several generations till those lessons are learned, and that’s okay.” 

I then finally asked Ms Jackson-Brown what we could expect from her new book coming out this December and how it differs from the other books she had published? She told me, “Not writing about the same fictional characters from Parsons, Georgia. I’m writing much closer to home. It is actually set in the city that I graduated from that I received my undergraduate degree in Troy, Alabama. It’s about a black woman who is the director of a group home for black boys and it also has issues related to the Vietnam War. And her twin brothers are lost in action and I look at how that affects her and her family.” 

I told Ms. Jackson-Brown that it was lovely meeting and interviewing her and I wish her well with her Red Dragon Reading and her new book coming out in December. I also wanted to take a moment to thank Angela Jackson-Brown for her time to speak to me, she was a pleasure to speak to. If you would like to read any of her books she has a website, which I will attach below.

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