Cortina Jackson is the fiction author of, On Earth as It Is in Hell, and “The Sounds of Silence are the Loudest.” She is a domestic violence survivor, and advocate against all forms of abuse. She recently became an actress, appearing in the movie, “Beneath the Scar;” and will be acting in a web series called, “The Family,” as well as the upcoming stage play, “Take Away the Pain.” Cortina has written, and narrated a commercial for the NAACP Lubbock Chapter, and lends her voice to other projects as well.
Cortina is the recent co-host of a Sirius XM Radio Show, “Live Your Best Life,” on Channel 167 Thursday night 6-8 pm CST. The proud mother of two young adult sons, is still one of her favorite jobs.
Cortina has also worked in corrections, criminal justice, and law enforcement for many years. She has often seen that life is scarier than fiction, which is often portrayed in her novels. She holds two Master’s degrees in Safety and Criminal Justice, but would gladly leave all of it behind to write, produce, and act full-time.
Cortina, thank you for agreeing to this interview. You have two master’s degrees and have been an advocate against domestic violence and sexual abuse. How has your education and your passion worked their way into your fiction?
You can definitely see the passion that went into both novels, because they come from a very real place, depicted in fiction. I worked in criminal justice most of my working life, so I have talked to murderers, thieves, rapists, and serial killers on many occasions. I heard about their life stories and their crimes. You would be shocked at some things revealed.
People often wonder what goes through a criminal’s mind, and I have had the unique experience of finding out. I am very personable and non-judgmental which won me a great deal of respect in the prison system. I was a victim of abuse and domestic violence myself; married to a narcissistic, physically and mentally abusive former police officer.
After he tried to kill me, I escaped with my life, and a new lease on life. Vowing to always be good to others, and I just recently learned to be good to myself! Yes, you will read everything in my novels, nothing is ever held back.
Readers shared that your first release, On Earth As It Is In Hell, captured the essence of topics and situations of what some consider to be a spiritual battle in the modern world. Was this intentional? Please tell us a bit about the story.
I wanted to be very real in this novel. I did not want it to be another Christian book with “scare tactics” in it. I wrote it for people who didn’t believe in that and decided to focus on what people do believe in; that there are good people, and there are very evil people in this world. I wanted to write a very interesting take on Hell, and the demons that have a conversation in Hell about destroying people that already feel like they are living Hell on Earth. The demons climb and clamor their way through portals that open everywhere on the Earth. The portals open right into record companies to influence the music. They open directly in a church, where people are looking for hope; but we see the demons speaking directly into the preacher’s ear. They infiltrate the world everywhere, and you get to see three characters with extreme and relatable circumstances that would cause anyone to despise God. What happens next is shocking, and will leave the reader to his or her own thoughts of Hell’s existence. The book is very graphic and it details real-life circumstances that happen to the characters. Someone’s nightmare is another person’s reality, read their reality.
You have been open about how the harsh realities of life led you to write this novel. What hidden themes and messages have you wove through the pages in which you hope speak to the reader?
Yes, I was graphic in the novel, because the stories that I have heard in real life, and the circumstances in my own life were graphic and sad. I want people to realize that there is always a choice in life. People make choices and decisions all of the time. It is my hope that people will make the choice to find God, or another form of happiness, source, or higher power that will bring them the life that they can enjoy. There is room in this vast world for all of us to succeed. I am a believer, so I credit God for everything in my life. He turned my living Hell into pure bliss and it is my hope that others will find their way as well. I want to make sure that I am Heaven-bound!
The Sounds of Silence Are the Loudest released last year, bespeaking of serial killers, traffickers, and pedophiles. I worked for years as an advocate against sexual abuse and frequently trained mental health professionals on the trafficking trade and best practice for its survivors. What type of research did you have to undergo to make this story believable? Are there elements now that you wish you would have included?
I worked in juvenile detention and probation, and I noticed that I would see some of the same kids in and out of trouble. A great number of them ran away from home, prostituted themselves, and did every kind of drug imaginable, before coming back. I would always consider them lucky that they were caught and brought back to detention because there are so many kids that are abducted daily and are crying, begging, and pleading to just go home. I spoke to killers in the prison when I was a correctional officer, and when I had other roles in sex offender programs that preyed upon children. Kids like this were very easy to manipulate. I had a dream about this serial killer, and I wanted to tell the story from the beginning; from his infancy to his current state, so that you are in the serial killer’s mind the entire time. He experiences some harsh things at an early age that make him crack, so mind-control becomes his reality without him realizing it. As the reader is following the story, they will wonder whether he is under mind-control or are we.
For generations, the minds of sociopaths have fascinated the wider populace and intrigued those in professional fields of study, including police officers, social workers, psychologists, and so forth. What does it serve to document these individuals in literature? Do you think it offers something of value to future generations?
I think it is very important to document these individuals. We are intrigued often by things that we don’t understand. We will never understand how or why a human being would make another human being suffer, scream, bleed, or die, but if we can get a glimpse of what the catalyst was, perhaps we can be better prepared or aware. I constantly look at people when I go to public places, I never sit with my back to the door at restaurants. I park in well-lit areas. Over the top? No, it is being security minded. Criminals never stop thinking about how they can overtake you, and unfortunately, we cannot always be protected from impending doom; but we can do the very best that we can to keep safe.
Please tell us a bit about the show you co-host, Live Your Best Life, and your podcast, What’s on Cortina Jackson’s Mind.
I am so happy and blessed to co-host a Sirius XM Radio Show on Thursday nights 6-8 pm CST Channel 167, called “Live Your Best Life.” I was asked to be on the show as a guest by Mr. Don Estes, a huge advocate against domestic violence. I shared my story of domestic violence along with Don. The very next morning the host of the show, Mrs. Shay Owens, asked me if I ever thought about being on a radio show. I told her it was on my bucket list, and she asked me if I wanted to be a co-host on her show!! The law of attraction was definitely at work! We talk about everything on the show, and I am using this platform to talk to people who may never get an opportunity like that in their lives. We had over 14 million listeners on our show entitled, “Sexual Healing” we hold nothing back, and no topic is off limits. I decided to start my own podcast so that I could focus on reading excerpts from my books, and short stories; and I could have the opportunity to speak with domestic violence survivors, authors, and just anyone who wanted to promote themselves! I call it “What’s on Cortina Jackson’s Mind,” because you will always get something insightful and hopefully pique interest into my crazy mind! It is available on Spotify, Anchor, and five other podcast platforms.
What can we expect from you in 2019? Anything more you would like to add?
I am a new actress as well! I was in a movie called “Beneath the Scar,” in which I play the wife of an abusive police officer! Ironic huh? This was my real life story, and neither I nor the director knew this going into it. We will walk the Red Carpet for its release, March 3, 2019 in Irving, TX. I was also cast in a new series that will release this summer, digital release for Youtube, Facebook, and some other platforms, with the hopes of going to Netflix called, “The Family.” I have a stage play that I will be in called, “Take Away the Pain.” I appear in a project that will release December 2019 called, “Firebones,” and I am doing voiceovers on several projects! I am so busy, but happy!!!
It has been a pleasure, Cortina! Please tell us where fans can find you online or in the upcoming year at events.
My website has all of my updates, books, and projects please visit at
“What’s On Cortina Jackson’s Mind” can be found on: