Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

237. New Books and New Insights Into History: An Interview with Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins joins us to talk about her latest book Breathless and the series in progress. Of course, we talk about history and the stories that inspire her, especially the unsung, undiscovered, or forgotten women behind major figures in history.  We also discuss the communities of women throughout history that worked to help one another, and about her next book – which we really want to read already.

TRIGGER WARNING: we discuss some violent images from the recently released photography collection from Cornell at 17:04 to 17:38. I’ll warn you in the middle to skip ahead when it’s time.

Read the transcript

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Beverly Jenkins on her website – including her travel schedule – and on Facebook.

In our archives, there’s more to enjoy, including:

We also discussed a recent Guardian article about characters and readers, information about Lozen, and the collection of photographs of African American life from Cornell – please be cautious if graphic images upset you.

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Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

The music in our podcast is provided by Sassy Outwater.

This is from Caravan Palace, and the track is called “Bambous.” You can find Caravan Palace and their two album set with Caravan Palace and Panic on Amazon and iTunes. You can find Caravan Palace on Facebook, and on their website.


Click to view the transcript

This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

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  1. Helen R-S says:

    Thanks for the heads up about the transcript! 🙂 It was a pleasant surprise to start the long weekend!

  2. Jill Q says:

    Mail order brides, my catnip! Also, putting my vote in for a historical romance set in the HBCU world. 😉 I grew up watching A Different World and Whitley and Dwayne were one of my first romance couples.

  3. Crystal says:

    I seriously love this podcast. First, Ms. Jenkins is always a delight to listen to. Second, I love her books (Indigo and Forbidden are two of the best books I’ve ever come across, bar none, loved Breathless, and I need Regan’s story now please thank you). Third, we’re clearly meant to be best friends, because I looked at the books she’s currently reading, and other than the nonfiction selection, it’s read it, read it, read it, pre-ordered it, read it.

  4. Jazzlet says:

    I love the Ben Aaronovich books, and if as an American there are things you don’t quite understand about the British slang he has a glossary on his website My only complaint is that the books are doing so well he’s getting published in hardback so I have to wait longer for the mass market paperback!

  5. Kareni says:

    Thanks for an enjoyable interview and for the transcript.

  6. Berry says:

    I’ve read several Beverly Jenkins books but never heard an interview with her. So interesting! I loooooved Forbidden and now I want to read Breathless too. I was kind of sad to hear the joke about a gay uncle…I would actually love to have Jenkins write a LGBTQ character, or preferably a whole romance. The unrelenting straightness of her African-American communities is the only thing that never rang true for me. Perhaps because I have so many semi-closeted queers, confirmed bachelors, and spinster “best friends” living together in my Black family’s history. Consequently, I’m a sucker for telling forgotten or hidden historical stories and really no one does that better than Jenkins.

  7. Kate says:

    Squee! I want to be Beverly Jenkins when I grow up, and the Peter Grant series is awesome. As Jazzlet said, the slang can be a bit thick but I can usually pick it up from context. I think Ben Aaronovitch handles women characters far better than Jim Butcher does.

  8. Hazel says:

    Unfortunately I dislike Jenkins’ style, so I haven’t been able to read many of her books. But I feel very appreciative of her work for a few reasons.

    I need to read historical fiction. I didn’t study much history in my youth, and feel huge gaps in my knowledge and understanding of how we got where we are. Historical fiction helps me to fill the blanks while enjoying the story. Also, I am very aware that history is written by the powerful and I want to find out about the rest of us. I want to read the stories that don’t often get told. Jenkins seems to take time and effort searching out the hidden or overlooked stories and I trust that her history is accurate. And finally, even though this is romance, I am sick to the teeth of what someone called ‘princess stories’. I don’t buy that Regency London, e.g. was populated only by lords and ladies, and their servants. I want to read stories with diverse (I mean varied, not ‘not-white’) characters, leading the kinds of lives that people actually led at the time.

  9. Kate says:

    @Hazel, have you checked out Piper Huguley’s books? She also writes historicals from an African American perspective.

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