Hi friends! I hope you’ve been following along with the Decades series we’ve had every month so far this year. I’m loving it, and have discovered not only many new to me authors, but wonderful stories as well. Today we welcome Wayne Jordan, who came up with this entire wonderful project of these ~connected books. You might have noticed that usually the posts are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month, but for June we pushed it back a week to line the post up with Juneteenth! 😀
Decades: A Journey of African American Romance
Guest Author Wayne Jordan Shares an Excerpt and Inspiration for His Journey
Note: Promise Me A Dream by Wayne Jordan is the seventh book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of 12 decades between 1900 and 2010. Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page,
When I conceived the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series, I wanted to do two things. I wanted to give readers 12 love stories with main characters of color, but I also wanted to explore the African America experience in each of the 12 decades. I’ve read all the stories which preceded mine and I feel a sense of pride and achievement that each one was exactly what I wanted it to be.
The main action of my story, Promise Me a Dream, takes place in New York in March and April of 1968. I wanted my story to be about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King died on April 4, 1968, so my story will touch on the impact of his death. Along with that, my story is about the world of the theater. My heroine wants to be an actress, and as an immigrant, she discovers the harsh reality of New York and the theater world. When she meets the hero, Joel Donovan, she invites him into her world and he discovers that there is much more to life that the privileged world and life he has been living.
So why the 1960s? Not only was I born in the 1960s, but the Civil Rights Movement is the one definitive event that impacted me when I was a teenager. While I did not recognize its impact until I was in my late teens, I remember my heart breaking, bit by bit, when I discovered what blacks in the United States had continued to endure and suffer during that decade, despite the abolition of slavery. Most of all, I lauded the courage of those individuals who fought for respect, equality and justice.
So why would I want to set a romance against this background of ugliness? It was the decade in which unity and love were important; the decade in which strong men and women needed love the most…because it was love that kept them focused on the fight without losing their sanity.Promise Me a Dream is set in the 1960s, but I am so fascinated by the decade, I will definitely write more against that background.
I remember watching the shows “I’ll Fly Away” set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and “American Dreams” set in the 1960s. Both shows impacted me, showing the cruelty of the decade with its racism and prejudice. But it also showed me that the struggle, our struggle, was not only a struggle for black men and women, but those white brothers and sisters who recognized that our struggle was not only ours but theirs as well.
The 1960s was the decade of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X, both assassinated for leading the fight for equality and justice, and challenging the system. It was the decade of the “I Have Dream Speech” and Dr. King’s cry from the mountaintop.
Promise Me a Dream by Wayne Jordan
Chandra Williams’s dream of becoming an actress carries her from her home on Barbados to the bright lights of Broadway. But it’s the 1960s, and her goal of gracing the stage is obstructed by the limited opportunities for black actresses. Driven to help end discrimination and inequality, Chandra joins the Civil Rights movement.
Joel Donovan doesn’t understand the need for the Civil Rights movement. His life of privilege has sheltered him from the struggles of the black community. However, he’s intrigued by the courage and commitment of the beautiful immigrant from Barbados. Their attraction is immediate and powerful, and Joel is persuaded to join the movement.
When their efforts result in Joel’s freedom being challenged, Chandra gives him her unwavering support, but can their growing love survive the racial tensions and conflicts of the times?
The girl stood on the beach, her hands reaching for the skies. She started to dance with delicate grace. She appeared unskilled, but there was something in her movements. Passion. Yes, passion was the word. She danced slowly at first, but eventually, she gave in to the rhythm, moving faster and faster. There was no sound, no music, only pure abandonment … and the drums beating inside her head.
In the distance, gray clouds billowed, promising rain. The land was thirsty. For most of the dry season, it had hardly rained.
She stopped abruptly, racing over to the row of coconut trees that stood like soldiers along the shore. She sat, and the tears finally fell. She missed her mother. Yesterday, her mother had left for the United States to find a better life. As soon as things are settled, I’ll send for you, she’d said.
Chandra had heard the promise. She wanted to go to the United States so badly. She wanted to dance and sing and act. She wanted to watch a show on Broadway. She had heard so much about it from Ms. Thomas, her English teacher. If you wanted to see theater at its best, well, Broadway was the place to go.
Her mother had promised she would send for her in a few years. She was at The St. Michael School, one of the leading schools in the island. She was going to study hard and do the best she could. She’d promised her mother and she had all intentions of keeping that promise.
A gust of wind startled her. She glanced up. The clouds had climbed overhead. She had to leave now, or she’d be caught in the rain. Mama, her grandmother, would be worried. She sighed, took a deep breath and raced home.
Wayne Jordan is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and high school teacher. He lives on the beautiful tropical island of Barbados, the settling for several of his romance novels. His 11th romance novel, Promise Me A Dream, is a July 2018 release, and will be available for preorder in print and ebook, June 2018.