Ines is my homie and I am super proud to introduce her to you! We met close to four years ago at Howard University at a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Writers Retreat. Four years later, her debut novel Pleasure Hound Part 1 launched yesterday and it is ALREADY in Amazon’s Top 100 for categories like Erotica, Interracial and LGBT romance. Can you imagine???
She is amazing, ya’ll and so talented. Enjoy my interview with her.
What do you do and why is it important?
I write erotic romance, paranormal romance, and fairy tale retellings under the pen name, Ines Johnson. In a time when women continue the struggle for equality, housewives, single ladies, and mature women are self publishing their romance stories. Self-publishers have often been turned away by or turned from traditional publishing companies. Many of these women are making a living on their own terms, and even better, their customers are other women. This says to me that the way to equality is by our own hands.
What are three things you know for sure?
Perfect is the enemy of done.
We are interconnected.
I am a channel for creativity and my work will come to good.
What is the best advice that you have ever received? Why did that piece of wisdom resonate with you so much?
I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time. A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t the the definition of insanity?
What is going on in your business that EVERYONE should know about now?
There’s a preponderance of books where pain is pleasure. And that’s okay with me -when I believe that there’s actually pleasure being had. I’ve read too many books where women are getting spanked just to get spanked. Its not clear how the act satisfies a need in them, nor is it clear that the man understands and is acting to fulfill that need. That understanding is the sexy part to me: a woman who knows (perhaps subconsciously) what she needs and a man who knows exactly how to give it to her.
My book, The Pleasure Hound: Part One, came into being out of this frustration. I wanted to read about a heroine who was eager to explore pleasure. I wanted to encounter a hero who was skilled in, and solely interested in, that woman’s pleasure. My hero, Jian, studies women’s bodies like textbooks. After thorough perusal of, he emerges ready to ace the examination.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
Most writers aspire to quit their day jobs. Not me. Teaching is my calling. Writing books is another way to teach. Through character motivation and plot arcs I get to show people ways to navigate their wants, desires, and needs.
What makes you a DreamGirl?
I’ve realized that I’m delusional. Everything that I do, I see myself rising to the pinnacle of that endeavor. When I began my career in television, I naturally I assumed I’d be bigger than Oprah. When I began teaching, I just knew Harvard would come calling. And now that I’m following my dreams of writing, I just know that I’ll surpass JK Rowling. I’m delusional. I know. But how can you not reach for the stars with each of your dreams.
What rituals, if any, do you do on a daily, monthly, or yearly to keep you focused, positive, or centered?
I write everyday. The first time I tried to write a book it took me one year to write the first three chapters because I agonized over each word choice. Now, I believe in fast drafting. Vomit the story onto the page without a care for comma placement. All told, it takes me about six months from the first drafted word to the final polished manuscript.
I take three to four weeks for the first draft, which I call The Dirty. I let The Dirty breath for as long as I am able to be parted with it -usually a week or two. Then I come back and Sweep up the grammar and plot holes, which usually takes another three to four weeks.
Next I send The Swept draft out to my trusted critique partners. When it comes back I Clean it up for another three weeks focusing on my weaknesses which is setting. Finally, I send The Clean manuscript off to the copyeditor for two to three weeks. When it comes back I Polish up all the commas and rethink my overused words. Then I hit publish, and start all over again!
How do you handle setbacks? What skills, support, or personality trait do you rely on the most to help you overcome adversity.
When I have a setback, I go inside. As a Buddhist, I sit each week in sangha, which is similar to sitting in a church pew on Sunday. In a sangha the teacher, think preacher, will lecture on spiritual teachings and guide the group in mediation. During meditation when I’m supposed to be getting my zen on, my mind always wanders back to the teaching and turns it into a story.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandolous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.
Here are other places that you can find her!!