In the African American literary arena, I’m sure there are many authors that you find yourself reading over and over, and ones that you consider to bring it often and with pizazz. Yes, we all have our favorites. I’m not ashamed to admit that the standards I have for writers to allow their stories to be definitive in allowing words to give imaginative verve to them is what I look for. Best-selling author Jacquelin Thomas is all of that for me! What you’re reading now on this blog is part of a ‘blog tour’ featuring her latest book that I was asked to showcase. In it you will find a few intrusive questions that have been asked of her with my intent to give flavor to her what she is all about...and of course the review of her latest book -- ‘SAMSON’, a modern-day adaptation of Samson and Delilah’s story.
Q. You wear so many hats as a writer—romance author, Christian fiction author, young-adult author. How do you decide what to write next? What are the differences, if any, in writing for different genres?
I love writing, and God has given me so many stories I find it’s hard to keep up at times. I love romance and I’m married to my very own Hero, so writing romance is just a celebration of love. With writing Christian fiction, it’s more of a ministry for me, and with YA, I have a heart for teens so I wanted to write books that spoke to their issues. There really isn’t any difference between them as I always strive to tell a good story. The teen books are geared toward ages twelve to eighteen. None of my books have profanity or graphic sexual situations.
Q. Can you walk us through your writing regime? Do you have a set outline that you follow, or do you go where the narrative takes you?
I write from an outline, which changes from time to time, but for the first draft, I tend to keep it close to my initial notes. The rewriting phase is when I really flesh out my scenes and let the characters tell me where to take the story.
Q. How important is it to incorporate your faith into your work? What does your faith bring to your life?
It’s very important as my writing is a gift from God. I didn’t just decide to be a writer—it is what I was born to do, and I truly believe this. God wants us to use our gifts to glorify Him and that’s what I want to do. Without Him, none of this would be possible.
Q. Throughout your Christian Fiction novels, the characters refer back to the Bible. Do you have a favorite passage from scripture? What is it, and why?
I guess it would be Habakkuk 3:17–19, because it talks about how Habakkuk lost everything, but he continued to rejoice in the Lord because God is his strength and has equipped him to endure trials and tribulations. I believe that we find out what we’re really made of when we go through hardships. Oftentimes, we feel life isn’t fair and we pout, but another way to look at our struggles is this: The harder the struggle, the more faith God has in us. He knows just how much we can bear, so when life gets rough, just know that God is there cheering you on, because He knows that you can make it through! He just wants you to realize it, too, and trust that He’s already worked it out.
THE BOOK REVIEW… Samson by Jacquelin Thomas
Inspired by the Biblical tale of Samson and Delilah, the first chapter wastes no time in setting the stage with what’s to come as Samson Taylor gives readers why a man is vulnerable without the covering of righteous intent with a heart that sustains it. Best selling author Jacquelin Thomas whets our appetite with a delicious menu with her latest book, SAMSON. The table is set and the players are ready to show that it takes more than one to allow iniquity to prove that the pulpit is not exempt from snakes. Is it fair to call Samson Taylor a snake? An unmarried man of God unwilling to give up his player’s card? The story unfolds with Taylor newly installed as Assistant Pastor at a gregarious North Carolina church. He’s perceived to be a man of God—and proves early that he’s definitely not ready to ascend the dais that his father previously held. Armed with adonis-like features, with a gift of gab, his charisma stirs up only adds to problems dealing with any beautiful women that happen to cross his path. And they come out one by one -- Savannah, Delinda, and most notably Meagan.
The book is a moving fast-paced drama that speeded along with enough intrigue and contrast for the denouement to justify Samson finally getting his act together. Like the story it’s crafted from a voice of reason is constant as a quasi-omniscient present in aunt Helen, who admonishes him more often than not about ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ morals. The author gives a plausible attempt to show Samson with enough reticence to be remorseful, but not before he meets Delinda, married to a popular NBA star which culminates to a public altercation with her husband. The chagrined and disgraced pastor tired of the frustration and shameful acts embarks on a journey to save grace where a new sense of awareness clarifies his current vision. Reading this story, you know that God will forgive Samson’s past—but will Samson himself be able to truly change his heart and turn the other cheek?
I loved this book. Simply because it reminded me of how lust and the challenge of conquering the desire to have any woman that appealed to me. Trying to get a life without the temptation that Satan throws to the weakened flesh can be fraught with dangerous dalliances with a false sense of security. Samson found out at the right time for salvation to be the progenitor of a great read, and I’m so glad that it was Jacquelin Thomas who gave it to us with page-turning delight. This in my opinion is one of her better books and I don’t have problems rating it 5 stars out of 5. Pick up this book and add it among the ones you savor and support!