Ball State professor makes stride in writing novel

Assistant professor Angela Jackson-Brown speaks to a crowd at her book signing Feb. 3 at Muncie Public Library. Brown is currently writing another novel. DN FILE PHOTO JORDAN HUFFER
Assistant professor Angela Jackson-Brown speaks to a crowd at her book signing Feb. 3 at Muncie Public Library. Brown is currently writing another novel. DN FILE PHOTO JORDAN HUFFER

Growing up, Angela Jackson-Brown lived in a world full of storytellers. Her father and brothers wove together stories that enlightened her young mind. Her family made their stories come to life.

Naturally, Jackson-Brown developed a passion for reading and gravitated toward “writing herself,” despite the color of her skin.

“I realized that black people wrote books,” Jackson-Brown said. “I didn’t see that a lot as a child. I just assumed that they didn’t.”

Jackson-Brown was born in Montgomery, Ala. and spent most of her childhood in Ariton, Ala. She graduated from Troy University with a B.S. in Business Administration, from Auburn University with an M.A. in English and from Spalding University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

Throughout her graduate school years and for several years after, Jackson-Brown became curious about writing her first novel. She even worked with two mentors while attending school, saying that it would have been difficult without their support.

Finally, in January, her debut novel “Drinking From a Bitter Cup” was published. Her novel was split between autobiography and fiction.

“They were things that happened to me as a child and a teenager,” Jackson-Brown said. “A large part of it came from my imagination.”

Her novel follows a young girl and how she had to cope with her experiences. Jackson-Brown wanted to write a story about a character who dealt with a lot of disappointment and sadness.

The day that “Drinking From a Bitter Cup” was published, Jackson-Brown described it as being one of the most exciting days of her life, fulfilling a childhood dream. Brown didn’t even mind that it had taken so long.

“It took as long as it took because it was what I needed to happen,” Jackson-Brown said. “It happened when it was supposed to.”

Jackson-Brown is unsure about whether the story will continue with a sequel, feeling as though she had written the girl’s story in completion. She isn’t envisioning it as a story that would continue.

However, Jackson-Brown revealed that she is currently working on another novel, which will base itself on the fictitious townspeople of Parsons, Ga, all of whom are ancestors of plantation workers.

Parsons is mirrored after a real town in Georgia that has its own Hollywood ties. Jackson-Brown researched the city and stumbled upon the town by accident. She plans to make references to real places in Georgia throughout the novel.

She is currently in her sixth year teaching at Ball State University, enjoying the interactions she has with her students. Brown also teaches a course in the Honors College.

Jackson-Brown has taught at several other universities and loved every moment of it.

“I took a break in teaching, but it was nice to come back to a smaller university with smaller class sizes,” Jackson-Brown said.

She also offers free writing courses at the Muncie Public Library.

Jackson-Brown encourages her students to never give up on their writing, and makes sure they write for themselves and not for the possible fame it may bring them.

“It’s too easy to get frustrated,” Jackson-Brown said. “The writing has to be a love of the written word. If the person isn’t passionately in love with writing, it’ll be a difficult thing to pursue.”

Comments