Celebrating twenty-five years as a professional nurse, Donna Jackson now adds a writer, published, politically active nurse to her accolades. Having studied Sociology at the historically Black college: Tuskegee University and graduating from Charter Oak State College with honors, it is as a registered nurse opportunity lend itself.
As a novice legal nurse consultant, Donna represented herself pro se. The experience allowed the drafting of legal documents during historical time. It afforded her a voice advocating for health as she submitted an argument to the United States Supreme Court and Congress supporting amending the Nineteenth Amendment.
Donna shares her experience in a novel based on a true story. Donna is on a mission to encourage, educate, and empower.
BPM: Please, share something our readers wouldn’t know about you.
The highlight of my life occurred seven years after saying, see you again to my mother and one year after divorce. God never forgets an injury to His children’s hearts. I turned fifty in Israel. I will always remember landing in the Promise Land.
BPM: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Confident, tenacious, and wise.
BPM: Is writing your full-time career? How much time do you spend writing?
I wish. I write around a full-time work schedule.
BPM: Tell us about your first published book, Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us. What was the journey like?
Writing is cathartic for me. And as I have written in some capacity since a young girl, not once did I ever dream of sharing with the world. The journey started for me after saying farewell to my mother. I was in a house that became cold after losing her. I will always remember that night as my darkest hour. I will never forget questioning the Lord, “That’s it? You give us these people, take them away; then what?”
Out of nowhere, I made a request. “Will You allow me to tell our story. I will be very careful to give You all honor, glory, and praise.” As I start writing, the emptiness was replaced with a rekindled love.
BPM: Introduce us to your most recent work, JOY: Jesus on You: A Novel. Available on Nook and Kindle?
People who know me will always have a story of me singing in some offbeat. I finally hit the perfect note with “JOY.” It is the story of a woman’s divorce experience that afforded her a voice for wellness.
As a defendant representing herself, pro se, the main character finds herself presenting an argument explaining why she should not become homeless post-divorce. Scheduled to be heard last by the presiding judge allowed the defendant to use her nursing assessment skills as she listened to a divorce case. She honed in on health after hearing the judge’s verdict.
The defendant made a nursing diagnosis of Powerlessness. The judicial system dropped the gavel against well-being, and it becomes the defendant’s quest to fight not only for herself but an ailing nation as well.
JOY: Jesus on You: A Novel is available as an eBook. The paperback version will release December 1, 2020.
BPM: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
World Health Organization deems this the “Year of the Nurse.” For nurse’s week this year, on what would have been a milestone bicentennial birthday, we remember the “Lady with the Lamp,” Florence Nightingale, as we celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment ratification.
On August 18, 1920, women gained the right to vote, with Mary Eliza Mahoney, as one on the forefront for the movement. The nurse’s week celebration begins with what would have been Mary Mahoney’s one-hundred and seventy-fifth birthday. In the “champion spirit” of women before me, this is my silver anniversary; I address other liberties on health women deserve as I continue the legacy of advocating for wellness.
BPM: Just a little history on Mary Eliza Mahoney for those tuning in.
She is noted for becoming the first African American licensed nurse. Mary Eliza Mahoney was the second African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States, graduating in 1879. Mahoney was one of the first African Americans to graduate from a nursing school, and she prospered in a predominantly white society. (Wikipedia)
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, JOY: Jesus on You?
Confirmation that Jesus is always faithful, His word has been a “lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.” My interest in prayer proves able to position you for God’s perfect plan. History as my friend, I lend my voice for women’s rights. I advocate for nurses. I fight for civil liberties.
BPM: Is there a specific place/space that you find inspiration in?
Inspiration for me has been a time in history, the women’s movement. It’s been a desperate and contemptuous journey. Most recently, astonished at learning the plights of women in the arts, my career, female dominant, has been offended as well.
BPM: When developing a new book, what comes first, the plot or characters?
Real life characters came to play in the first book, Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us. Plot dominates the second book, JOY.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
My books are based on life experiences. I’d like to believe from divine inspiration.
“Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us” is the first book of a trilogy. “JOY: Jesus on You” is the second book. “Amazing Grace” is an introduction to me. My second book, “JOY,” is the mark I hope to leave on society.
“JOY” is an extension of “Amazing Grace” in both stories; you see a woman of faith. In “Amazing Grace,” the woman is trying to find her way to proper positioning before God. In “JOY,” the woman is being used by God to fulfill His plan and purpose in her life. Both are stories of change, offering hope and liberation. I’m living in book three.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing and developing this book?
I will always recall my first project as the tool God used to save my life. People often remember me as always wanting to be a nurse. What many don’t know, later in life, my motivation to return to nursing school was to have a career that would offer me a salary I could live off working part-time while attending law school.
Later in my career, I learned about Legal Nurse Consultants. The older I became, I had a peculiar interest in law. As painful the journey has been, I find pleasure in the fact “JOY” took me to the halls of justice, self-taught in legal matters that allowed the opportunity of somewhat practicing Constitutional Law.
BPM: Is writing easy for you? Do you feel lonely being a writer during the creative process?
Typically, it is effortless for me to write. My audience has been mostly scholarly related. I had an instructor tell me she enjoyed my writing; that was nice. I found a challenge by putting together my screenplay. My writing style is having a difficult time adapting to the format required to develop a script.
BPM: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you use a computer or write out the story by hand?
It is challenging for me not to write on my laptop. I noticed as a student. Weird since I’ve celebrated fifty and all I’ve known in my lifetime is pen and paper. I typed lots growing up.
BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
I think it’s important to pace yourself and planning is critical. I know from the screenplay; the creative process can become stressful. I had a deadline that I am okay with missing. It’s a learning curve. I’ve learned to respect the process. It’s my first attempt, and I want to conquer entertaining on this level. As a nurse, I understand we are not equipped to help others if you have not cared for yourself. Don’t overload yourself and enjoy the journey.
BPM: How do you personally deal with the emotional impact of a book as you are writing the story?
Because my stories are so personal, I cry. I become angry. Both are very difficult to relive. I can read “Amazing Grace” and be comforted. The same is not true for “JOY.” However, my training reminds me music is therapy.
BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book in general? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
I want to complete my series with a libretto. So, that will take plenty of planning. First, I must learn to write an opera. I think an opus is the perfect ending to my trilogy. I love music — therapy to your soul.
BPM: How much ‘world-building’ takes place before you start writing?
My challenge was odd. Writing “JOY: Jesus on You,” I had to take an unknown world and allow a nurse to build a case based on her life experiences as a woman. It was not an easy feat.
I intentionally left my original cases unedited. I never want to forget how difficult it was drafting briefs under such dire circumstances. Whenever someone opens “JOY: Jesus on You” to read, I want the authentic pleas for help during my struggle to be read.
BPM: What period of life or topics do you find you write about most often?
My projects allowed me to consider the life span. The conversations discuss violations. Unfortunately, this behavior affects all ages. It is pertinent not to appease voters, but women must have viable opportunities.
“JOY: Jesus on You” not only tells a story but is a call to action. It is time for Congress to be held accountable. It is time women are seriously addressed.
BPM: How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?
We are all entitled to our opinions. I think we as people run into difficulties when we omit the necessary communication skills often required to express disagreement. I respect your right to disagree. Please respect the other fact that it does not make me wrong. We have different views, and that difference allows conversation.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
Recruiting and retention of a diverse workforce. Diversity an issue since 1879, the year Mary Mahoney graduated, continues in a workforce falling short of meeting the demands of a changing health population. The demographics have changed tremendously in the last twenty-five years.
I recall, as a student, my instructor informing us of the need to find innovative ways to adapt to an aging and more diverse patient population.
Twenty-five years later, there is a call to action for a diverse workforce, a safe work environment, and payment for what is required and expected. We have issues in nursing.
I wrote Congress for help. A chapter titled Love Letters holds some of my requests for assistance.
BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
I know I’m not walking in my calling. It’s frustrating. I had a career that always advanced me in my profession. One decision placed me at the very beginning. It’s not a good feeling but a job. So, I’m grateful. This year, I intend to work on issues preventing women from fulfillment, as indicated in the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. I argued using Maslow as a source.
BPM: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
Uncertainty. However, the two things I knew to be true: God and purpose for the struggle. Even without a place to call home, I kept writing.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
My journey introduced me to an aggregate sworn to protect and serve. I forwarded a request for help to every branch of the government; to no avail. By letter, I told Nancy Pelosi she was the most powerful woman in politics, and seven years later, she proved me correct. I am a third-generation blue voter. I enter this political year unconvinced I’m on any candidate’s agenda.
The blessing is I have written a book titled “JOY: Jesus on You” with a goal of sexual healing. I hope that others will join in the fight for women demanding additional protection from the Nineteenth Amendment. One hundred years later is a perfect time to amend.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Writing saved my life.
BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
My living not in vain. I prove to become a blessing to many in what I consider a very orchestrated plan. To have my colleague’s support. Women walking into their rightful places because I was one of many willing to stand up to injustice. Sales. Long after I’ve gone to meet my mother, continued sales. To not be known for a woman who joined the conversation, but a registered nurse remembered for resolve. My publications are like those I love, classics. Most importantly, that many will know Jesus because of my testimonies.
BPM: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Maya Angelou and Claude Brown. Now and then, I write poetically to inspire. I shared my story to offer others hope.
BPM: What famous author do you wish would be your mentor?
Stephen King. His writing has captivated readers throughout his writing career. His adaptations do exceptionally well.
BPM: What projects are you working on at present?
I’ve taken a few writing classes. My latest project is a screenplay. I plan to start some blogging — something I hadn’t had a chance to do since 2007. The Lipstick Movement is a vision of mine with a focus on upward mobility. In all shades of rouge, it’s time to be heard. A right found in the First Amendment, and I am one of many women with questions. The journey’s been uphill.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
New Business Ventures
I hope to retire and travel. As wellness is my thing, writing my passion, photographs are my print. Pictures from my Israel trip will be available at inmotion.love And with clothes as my mother’s signature trademark, I’m selling on Poshmark. My goal is to open a shoe boutique (Beyond Still Standing), my most favorite thing to shop for, empowering women to walk in confidence. Putting it all together like a symphony, as I write my song: The Promise.
BPM: Please share your social media connections so that the readers can follow you.
Here are my present social media accounts:
FaceBook DMicheleJackson: https://www.facebook.com/lipstickmovement