Dr. Dana Elle Jackson spoke via Zoom to about 35-40 Mensa members with her Theodore Talk on Sunday, January 23rd, 2022. Her lecture – titled as What’s Love Got to Do with It? Writing a Harlequin Romance Novel – was intended for aspiring writers and readers of romance literature. Topics she addressed were her personal journey, love is the why, so you want to be a writer, and what’s next… like maybe a podcast.

Beginning with her own personal background, she then added that writers can start with a vision board. Brainstorming for the best ideas and the connections between them is important when you are someone with many obstacles to overcome. Having strong role models and family members can help you out too. You need to realize just how big the impact that love and romance have on the book industry really is. Also, when you realize that romance just might include you, diversity in voices and stories becomes a huge source of encouragement. As the first Black Harlequin historical romance author/writer, Dr. Jackson has a strong grip on why diversity and inclusion in literature matters: It is something that allows us to see ourselves included, it is something we can relate to, and it offers something into which we can escape.

Indeed, reading a lot (of anything from everywhere) is a good place to start a writing career. You’ve got to be able to tame your inner squirrel by getting focused and prepared; visualize the impossible — this gives you vision, mission, and purpose; and you must address the mess with a sound mindset. When we learn to read and write as well as Elle Jackson does, we learn how reading and writing help us sort through our loosely connected ideas and observations; and eventually we put them together into memorable stories. She closed her lecture by answering a handful of questions from the audience. In a nutshell, she said:

Writing is a gift not only for the few [but especially so if we are intuitive artists] because, among all things, we all have a story to tell. Don’t ever allow anyone to take/have control over your creativity.