At Florida State University Nikesha Elise Williams, 31, studied both mass media and creative writing.
Her bachelor’s of science in communications led to a successful career in television. After brief stops at TV stations in Amarillo, Texas, and Fort Meyers, Williams moved to Jacksonville seven years ago.
She worked for two years at First Coast News (WTLV TV-11 and WJXX TV-25). She has spent the last five years at Action News Jax (WFOX TV-30 and WJAX TV-47), where she currently produces the 11 p.m. newscast for TV-47.
She was nominated for a Suncoast Chapter Emmy Award in 2013 and won the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters award for Best Breaking News in 2013.
Now she is putting her creative writing studies to use. Her first novel, “Four Women,” is about to be published.
Set in Jacksonville in 2014, the novel follows four women: Soleil St. James, a schoolteacher; Ebony Jones, a fitness instructor; Jonelle “Johnnie” Edwards, an emergency physician at UF Health Jacksonville; and Dawn Anthony, the anchor of a popular evening newscast on a fictional television station.
Two of the women have been in abusive relationships with the same man, a powerful and respected figure who derives pleasure from inflicting pain and exercising domination.
In her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” author Zora Neale Hurston, a Florida native and one-time Jacksonville resident, had one of her characters say that a black woman “is the mule of the world.”
Williams said she wrote “Four Women” with the question “is the black woman still the mule of the world” in mind.
“What Hurston was saying is that the black woman was on the bottom rung,” Williams said. “She takes everything on her back and gets no credit.”
Has the lot of women improved in the 80 years since Hurston’s masterpiece was published?
“Women are earning master’s degrees and opening businesses,” she said. “But we’re still earning less money.”
Williams, who is publishing the novel herself, will hold a book signing and discussion from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at WJCT Studios, 100 Festival Park Ave. Joining her in conversation will be Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, who was shot to death Nov. 23, 2012, at a Jacksonville gas station by Michael David Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer, following an argument over loud music. Dunn was eventually convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Williams is the mother of 2-year-old Mylen Williams, and stepmother to three children from the first marriage of her husband, Jermaine Williams, a Marine veteran who works as a civilian employee at Blount Island.
Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413