Brenda Jackson was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She got married to Gerald, her high school sweetheart, in 1972 after graduating from high school. She went on to earn a degree in business administration from Jacksonville University, and to expand their family by having two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, who is a Political Officer in the US Foreign Service.
To relieve job-related stress in the early 1990s, Jackson began reading romance novels. Although she enjoyed the novels, she was dissatisfied with the lack of cultural and ethnic diversity in the characters. After complaining to her husband that she could do better, he registered her for a romance writers conference and encouraged her to try her hand at writing. At the conference, Jackson met then-unpublished authors Francis Ray and Rochelle Alers and became inspired to write.
Jackson was determined to write novels that are multicultural romances, featuring African-American characters, that "convey the belief that love is every[where]." Her first novel, Tonight and Forever was published in 1995. This and the next few books followed the fictional Madaris brothers, giving Jackson an opportunity to portray professional African-American men who were both "appreciative and respectful of women." Her heroes are in many ways inspired by her husband, whom she considers to be "a very strong African-American male [who] is supportive and centers his life around his family."
In 2001, Jackson released her first mainstream women's fiction novel, A Family Reunion. As with her previous romance novels, this book contains a "sexy spark," as well as Jackson's familiar "polished and confident" writing style, which allows her "characters [to] burst with color right off the page." The following year, in 2002, she became the first African-American author to have a novel published as part of the Silhouette Desire line.
Despite publishing 11 books in the first ten years of her writing career, as of 2005, Jackson considers writing to be her hobby, and she continues to work full-time as a manager at State Farm Insurance.
Throughout her writing career, Jackson has written for several publishers, including St.Martins Press, BET, Kensington, NAL, Harlequin/Silhouette and Harlequin Kimani Romance.
Jackson has received awards and made accomplishments by being the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today's Bestsellers List and to make the New York Times Bestsellers List.
Jackson is the recipient of the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2012, the highest honor bestowed by RWA in recognition of significant contributions to the romance genre. Additionally, she received the Sara Blocker Award 2012 from Florida Memorial University, the highest award given to a female for exceptional service to the university and for community service. Additional she was a "NAACP Image Award Nominee" 2012 for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her novel, A Silken Thread. She has won the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and four of her books have been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice. One of her novels, One Special Moment, won the Reviewers' Choice Award in 1998 for Best Multicultural Romance. She received twelve nominations at the Romance Slam Jam 2001's first annual Emma Awards, which recognize excellence in African-American literature. Jackson won in six of her categories, Favorite Hero, Favorite Author, Favorite Book of the Year, Favorite Sequel Continuing Book Series, Favorite Anthologies, and Favorite All-Nighter. The same year she also won the Romance In Color Award of Excellence for her novel Secret Love.
Jackson is a member of the First Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She retired after 37 years in management for a major insurance company.
Jackson has added film-maker to her list of superlatives when in 2011, as an Executive Producer, she released a movie based on her novella, "Truly Everlasting." This movie is based on her beloved Madaris Series novel. Partnering with her son, Gerald Jackson, Jr.'s film company - Five Alive Films, she released the movie, Truly Everlasting, to DVD in November 2011. The movie also included a soundtrack of 10 original songs by BreMaDa Productions, as well as the reissuance of a commemorative edition of the novel, Truly Everlasting. The movie was filmed in Jacksonville, Florida.Bethune Cookman University Community Leadership Award 2014
AAMBC Romance Author of the Year 2014
Delta Sigma Theta sorority Community Service Award 2013
RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2012
Sara Blocker Award 2012 - from Florida Memorial University, Miami, Florida
NAACP Image Award Nominee -Outstanding Literary Fiction - A Silken Thread 2012
CataNetwork Reviewer's Choice Award - Bachelor Undone 2011
African American Literary Award - The Proposal 2011
Beta Alpha Zeta Sorority Community Service Award 2010
African American Literary Award - Hidden Pleasures 2010
Romance Writers of America Honor Roll of Bestselling Authors 2010
RT Book Reviews' Career Achievement Award for Series Romance 2010
Borders Multicultural Award - Taste of Passion - 2009
Romance Slam Jam's Emma's Trailblazer Career Achievement Award 2008
RT Book Reviewer Choice Award for Best Book in a Series - Stranded with the Tempting Stranger - 2007
Waldenbooks/Borders Best Multicultural Romance 2006 - An All Night Man
African American Literary - Best Romance Award 2006 - Solid Soul
Emma Award for Author of The Year 2006
Emma Award for Book of The Year 2006 - Unfinished Business
Emma Award for Favorite Sequel 2006 - Unfinished Business
Emma Award for Favorite Hero 2006 - Alex Maxwell from Unfinished Business
Emma Award for Favorite Heroine 2006 - Christy Madaris from Unfinished Business
Emma Award for Favorite Anthology 2006 - Big Girls Don't Cry
Emma Award for Favorite Novella 2006 - The Perfect Seduction from Big Girls Don't Cry
Emma Award for Favorite Steamy Romance 2006 - The Chase Is On
Emma Award for Author of the Year 2005
AKA Sorority Community Service Award 2004
Best Multi-cultural Romance Book of the Year - The Midnight Hour
Best Multi-cultural Romance Author of the Year
Best St. Martins Romance of the Year - The Midnight Hour
Best Multi-cultural Fiction Book of the Year – The Playa’s Handbook
Best Romance of the Year 2001 - Surrender
All Time Favorite Romance Author 2001 - Brenda Jackson
The Best Multi-Cultural Romance Book of 2001 - Surrender
The Best Multi-Cultural Fiction Book of 2001 - Family Reunion
The Best Multi-Cultural Romance Author 2001 - Brenda Jackson
The Best Multi-Cultural Fiction Author 2001 - Brenda Jackson