Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Delizhia Jenkins – Delizhia is an Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author who currently resides in Inglewood, CA. The love for writing began in elementary school when the passion for storytelling developed into a journey of writing. Over the years, she honed her craft for storytelling and the written word by excelling in subjects such English and English Literature; and by indulging in her favorite past time which involved reading the works of Anne Rice, K’Wan, Christopher Pike, Carl Weber, Omar Tyree and finally the late L.A. Banks. J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood also claimed her heart and author Karen Marie Moning joined the ranks of Miss Jenkins’ all time favorite authors.
Miss Jenkins began publishing in 2013 with her first African American romance novel, Love at Last. After that, it was realized that her true magic rested in her writing about the ancient, the esoteric, and the supernatural. Moreover, since 2014, after her release of Nubia Rising: The Awakening, Miss Jenkins remained true to herself and her calling. And of course, being a true romantic at heart, it was important for her to fuse romance with the paranormal with a dash of “color.” Miss Jenkins prides herself on writing for “the woman without the fairytale” and of course bringing magic and melanin to each book she writes.
Follow Miss Jenkins on the following platforms:
Thanks so much, Delizhia, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Delizhia Jenkins: My passion for writing began in the third grade. I enjoyed writing short stories and even in my free time, I found myself writing “books” (several pieces of lined notebook paper stapled together) and imagining my stories coming to life. I was that kid that lived in her head, plus I was an avid reader. However it wasn’t until the fifth grade when I realized I was good at it. My teacher heavily supported my short stories and my knack for storytelling.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
DJ: My first published work was called Love at Last, an African American romance about a woman who managed to find love again after suffering from years of physical abuse of an ex. Her story begins when she’s had enough of her ex’s cheating and soon after, she meets someone she has an instant connection with. Her ex, unfortunately refuses to let her go and her new love interest ultimately becomes her hero.
JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
DJ: I have not done it yet, but I will be on the hunt for an actual Voodoo practitioner to interview for purposes of a story that I am working on.
JSC: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
DJ: Normally, I take a break from it. I spend time watching a movie or even resting. Most of the time when I do suffer from writer’s block, it is because I am tired.
JSC: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Delizhia Jenkins: I would tell my younger writing self to never allow anyone or anything to get in the way of trusting my instincts when it comes to writing.
JSC: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
DJ: I do. I usually post both the good and not so good reviews on my social media because at the end of the day, its all feedback. Thankfully, I have not received a review that was cruelly written or disrespectful. People are entitled to their opinions and I am comfortable with myself to understand my work will not please everyone.
JSC: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
DJ: I used to be able to spit out a book in less than ninety days but for the last couple of years, it has taken me as long as a year to complete one book.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
DJ: I really hate it when that happens. I do have a pretty good memory so most of the time when I am ready to sit down and put pen to paper, I can recall the idea. Or, if I am free I will make a quick note in my phone to review later.
JSC: Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
Delizhia Jenkins: Cain was actually my favorite character to write because, well no one asked him about his side of the story. Most people are familiar with the story of Cain and Abel – with Abel being the victim and Cain being cursed for his crimes. But no one thought to ask him what happened from his perspective. Now, of course my telling of Cain has a vampire twist to it, but in researching the tale, I began to put myself in Cain’s shoes. And then the more I pondered on his plight, my thought was, “that’s f*cked up” and so his character was recreated and so far well received.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
DJ: I am an extremely goofy person who lives her life in a never ending but complex musical which is a mixture of Disney songs, Broadway, 90’s R&B and trap music.
And now for Delizhia’s new book: Cain:
He is known as “The Living Curse” and the progenitor of the species know as “vampire”. He is the Darkness that even the shadows hide from and the plague that no man can cure. He is the prophecy of all that is to come and the sworn enemy of Huntress and angel alike. He is the beginning and has the will power and strength to survive to the very end…
“Why do you hate me so?” Cain challenged as he dragged his brother from the water to face off with his father. “Why? Abel and I shared the same womb, yet you treat me as if I am not of your blood!”
Adam’s lip trembled as the cold hard truth spilled from his lips. “You are not of my blood, Cain.”
“What do you mean I am not of your blood?” Cain seethed.
“Adam!” Eve shouted.
“War. Hatred. Those things are not of me,” Adam stated blandly, meeting Cain’s eyes. “From the time of your birth, it was obvious that you took more from your brother than you gave. He was smaller, while you grew stronger.”
“I have done nothing but protect not just my brother,” Cain growled, “But this family. I have provided nothing but the best of meat. Risked my own life for this family!”
“And even so, every action taken has been for yourself,” Adam continued.
“That is why your Offerings were rejected. It had nothing to do with the quality of the animal. It has always been offered with selfish intentions, which is why Abel has always brought blessings upon this family.”
Abel slowly released his hold on his brother. Eve reached out to Cain with open arms to try to bring comfort, but Adam held out his arm to block her. Slow awareness crept into Cain’s psyche. Adam did not consider him his blood. Abel would always be the favored son. Adam made it a point to strip everything away from him. As his eyes met the saddened expression of Luluwa, one thing became clear, Adam took from him because he rejected him as his blood.
Blood must be paid for in blood. Cain looked at his brother, whose eyes held instant fear. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion.
Eve screamed. Luluwa covered her mouth, and Adam simply could not move fast enough to stop the inevitable.
Hurt. Despair. Anger. All of that consumed and fueled Cain as he stepped forward and delivered a punch to his brother’s head with the brute force of his hammer.
Blood oozed from Abel’s nose and fell to the ground. Cain watched as his brother’s lifeless eyes stared back at him. Eve’s screams drowned out the sound of his own beating heart.
“What have you done?” Adam whispered as grief took hold of him.
Dark clouds formed against the once serene, blue sky and lightning struck as the ground cried out from its first taste of spilled blood. Blood. So much of it he could drink it, smell it … bask in it. Darkness … he was surrounded in darkness … his parent’s grief. His brother—what had he done? Nausea and pain like no other claimed and consumed him in a burning fire that sent him to his knees.
“What have you done?”
The booming voice from the sky startled him. It was He Who Made Adam. The Creator.
“Cain, what have you done? The earth cries out to me that the blood of your brother was spilled by your hand. You know not of what thine cast upon thyself …”
Falling to his knees, Cain looked at his fallen brother. The once green grass that surrounded him turned black as his brother’s blood was absorbed into the earth. Cain felt the flesh of his forehead burning with an inscription or mark that would permanently follow him for all eternity. He gingerly touched his forehead where he felt the raised and raw skin of the brand that would forever haunt him with the memory of this moment.
“They will know you by thine thy mark …” The Creator told him before retreating back into the heavens.
With trembling palms, Cain stood up long after The Creator left, to face a moonless sky. Adam’s voice echoed in the backdrop of his mind. But something else happened. The mark that was placed on his forehead melted away, as something, a dark power filled his veins. Like magma, this dark force oozed its way through his veins until it reached his heart, melting away what felt like his humanity. “You are not my son!” He heard Adam shout.
The earth began to tremble beneath him. A pair of soft hands held onto him. He heard Adam shouting at Luluwa to stay back, but she did not. She held on.
Still screaming, he forced himself to his feet again. His throat burned with an unquenchable thirst. Adam’s fists pounded against his back, but Cain forced himself away and took off into the darkness.
A fire in his aching belly craved that which did not grow from the land or fall from the skies. He ran until he found himself secluded and surrounded by a family of trees that seemed to extend an endless reach into the heavens. Here, he would beg for forgiveness. Sobbing, he cried out, “I have been forsaken!” The sky had blackened with angry dark clouds, an expression from Mother Nature herself that she too was displeased with his actions. “All I have done! And this is how I am repaid!”
He had no awareness of time when he slipped into unconsciousness. But during those moments, he dreamed of nothing but blood. Rivers of blood. Oceans of blood. The sky rained blood. He came to eventually, still surrounded by total darkness. He sat up quickly, noticing the changes in his body. He could see things with a deeper clarity, like the wood of the tree. He could see the very distinct definition and structure of the bark. He could make out a fly that landed on the leaf of the adjacent branch. Even the translucent design of its wings didn’t escape his vision. And then it dawned on him. He was now an outcast. A man without a family. Without a home. His thoughts returned to the very moment he killed his brother. He lost control. He would forever mourn the death of Abel. But now he knew that humans, as they were, could perish. He’d never known that fact until now.
Another question soon plagued him as he paced to and fro’ in the forest. What would happen to his sister Luluwa? Would Adam punish her for her affections towards him? She did not deserve the harshness of their father’s punishments, not ever. Suddenly fear for what would befall Luluwa unnerved him. He could surely kill Adam, but to do so, would incur the wrath of the One On High.
But there was still time…