I started my career writing contemporary romance. In fact, my first completed romance story was BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME, a modern romance set in Chicago about broken promises and second chances. But as a romance reader, I first fell in love with the genre through historical romances—though it wasn’t until late into my reader-life that I discovered the best-selling, award-winning pioneer of African American historical romance, Ms. Beverly Jenkins.
Growing up, I knew it was no secret that black men and women fell in love all the time. I had seen it in enough contemporary romances and movies to know this. But there was something unique about seeing that kind of love written in a historical setting. For black women, our history was usually whittled down to pain, violence, and heartache. But finally, I was exposed to a history where we were so much more than the pains of our past.
So, full of inspiration and an innate love for history, I set out to write my first historical romance. In June 2014, I released A SWEET SURRENDER, in the anthology For Love & Liberty, about an Afro-Native American healer who falls in love with a wounded British soldier during the Revolutionary War. The anthology also featured BE NOT AFRAID by Alyssa Cole about an African woman who joins the British army in order to gain her freedom from slavery, yet finds both love and freedom along the way.
In June 2015, I again collaborated with Alyssa and two other very talented authors to celebrate 150 years of emancipation and freedom. In The Brightest Day, we commemorate Juneteenth—a time that celebrates the emancipation of all slaves in America—and the wonderful Ms. Beverly Jenkins provides a foreword explaining the inception and importance of the 150-year-old holiday.
For the anthology, we each wrote a story over four different eras of American history (post-slavery) that featured a strong black woman. In my novella, Amazing Grace, my heroine Gracie is torn between fulfilling her promise or following her heart; in Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander, Rosie finds love and healing in the arms of her sexy suitor; in A Sweet Way to Freedom by Piper Huguley, Missy teaches her former lover—and the father of her unborn child—just what it means to love and be loved; and in Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole, Sofie sets out to make a difference and find love and redemption along the way.
In each story, we wanted to celebrate the fact that despite the pain and suffering of our past, black women have a history rich with love, light, and hope. Long before slavery—and even after it—black women were finding and falling in love wherever and whenever it came. That is something that should be shared, experienced, and celebrated always. As a writer, I’m so honored I get to do that alongside so many talented authors.♥
To see more of Lena’s work along with other diverse romances check out the When Black Women Fall promo tour at whenblackwomenfall.com.
Lena Hart is a multi-published author of sensual to steamy contemporary and historical romances. Her stories are known to include incredible love and unforgettable passion with a flare of suspense and mystery. When Lena is not busy writing, she’s reading, researching, or conferring with her muse. To learn more about her work, visit LenaHartSite.com.
What Is It?
The When Black Women Fall promo features romances in the contemporary, historical, paranormal, science fiction and fantasy, and erotica genres. The two requirements for inclusion are that the heroine must be of African/African-American descent, and she must fall in love: same race, interracial, LGBT, aliens, cyborg—doesn’t matter to us, as long as it’s a black woman falling in love!
For the week leading up to Valentine’s Day during Black History month, Heartspell Media is spreading the word about “When Black Women Fall” — a week-long promo featuring romances with African-American heroines.
When is it?
February 8-14, 2016. The week leading up to Valentine’s Day during Black History month.