Christina C. Jones is a modern romance novelist who has penned almost 30 books. She has earned a reputation as a storyteller who seamlessly weaves the complexities of modern life into captivating tales of black romance.

Prior to her work as a full time writer, Christina successfully ran Visual Luxe, a digital creative design studio. Coupling a burning passion to write and the drive to hone her craft, Christina made the transition to writing full-time in 2014.

Christina has attracted a community of enthusiastic readers across the globe who continue to read and share her sweet, sexy, and sometimes scandalous stories.

1) First, I just want to say thank you Christina for taking the time to do this interview with us! When did you first know that writing was what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about writing, if anything frustrates you the most?

Thank you all for having me! I could talk about writing for hours on end, so I appreciate any opportunity I’m given to do so!

I knew writing was my “calling” when I realized I hadn’t gotten tired of it yet. I’m a creative by nature, so I’ve gone through several “passions” in my adult life, all of which fizzled out fairly soon after I attempted to make them more than a hobby. With writing, the more I do it, the more obsessed I get.

What I love most about writing is the opportunity to tell these – largely – realistic stories that people can not only relate to, but sometimes learn from as well.

The most frustrating thing about writing is getting my fingers to move fast enough to keep up with the things happening in my head.

2) So you have almost 30 books to your credit, which is remarkable by the way! Do you like to write in one particular genre or do you like to explore writing in multiple genres? Where do your ideas come from? What inspires the characters and the worlds that you create in your writing? 

I’m actually pushing 50 now! Romance – Black love, specifically – is where my heart is, so I think everything I write will have that element somewhere near the forefront. I do, however, love exploring outside of contemporary romance. I have paranormal, romantic suspense, erotica, and most recently, post-apocalyptic romance under my belt. Ideas and inspiration come from everything. It can be something as innocuous as lighting a candle that leads me to google, figuring out if an artist can use hot wax on canvas to create something (they can), and then figuring out the story behind that artist, why they chose that medium, etc. Anything can spark an amazing idea.

3) Can you tell our readers a little more about you and where they can find your books and connect with you? You have quite a few different series and have built a lot of dynamic characters spanning across those series so what are some of your favorite stories that you’ve created and what makes them stand out?

That’s like asking me to name a favorite child! Even though there’s a lot I’d change about some of my earlier projects, I love every character and project I’ve written, without exception. The ones that stand out for me most are the ones that pushed my limits – The High Stakes Series (Ante Up and Deuces Wild) ventured into darker territory for me, a little grittier than my norm. Wonder, my most recent release, forced me to think outside the box to create a world that felt tangible and current, even though it’s set in what could very well be our future.

Everything I’ve published is available exclusively on Amazon, and I’m all over social media – @beingmrsjones!

4) As many books as you are able to put out, what does your writing schedule look like when you’re engrossed in a project? Do you outline your novels and do character sketches for your characters? How long does it typically take you to finish a novel?

I don’t work with a traditional outline, with acts and closing and climax, etc. When I’m writing, it’s coming to me, playing in my head like a movie, so I let the story reveal itself – no wrangling to make it work, moving parts around for me. To that end, I will take time to focus my thoughts, working through what comes next. I write down what the characters give me – not full details, just enough of a note to spark my memory, a few significant events at a time – rarely all at once. I never do character sketches – I like to get to know the characters as I’m writing.

When I’m really immersed in a project, I’m up at five in the morning, before anyone else. I write about a thousand words before I have to stop and get the kids off to school, then I’m back to the keyboard to get in as much as I can before the gym (maybe another two thousand) and then back to the keyboard after that, before school pickup. Usually another thousand.

That’s when I’m really focused, which I typically am towards the end of a project – the last week or two. Depending on the length and depth, I’ve had projects that only took a week, and projects that have taken three months.

5) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Have you had to deal a lot with rejection within your writing career and if so how did you deal with it?

I figured out early on that traditional publishing wasn’t for me, from watching how they treated other Black authors, especially in my chosen genre. I’ve never seriously pursued a publishing deal (I did enter a pitching contest with a popular romance publisher – my pitch was accepted, but I backed out), so that process is honestly foreign to me. I write exactly what I want to write, design the cover I want to see, and present it for readers to enjoy (or not), and there’s nothing that would make me do it differently. I’ve had wins – reaching a certain income goal, an audiobook deal, a television/movie option that unfortunately didn’t work out, reaching a certain point on rankings charts – but what stands out to me most was the very first time I went to a book event and had a reader, excited to the point of tears, hug my neck and tell me how much my work meant to her. Nothing tops that.

6) What projects are you currently working on? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

I’m not working on anything right now, but I’m thinking through what I’ll do next. It’s not settled yet, but it’ll come when the characters are ready. In the next five years, I see myself… doing something other than writing books. I’m just about ready to move into a different form of creative expression, I’m just waiting to see what that will be.

7) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?

The “publishing industry” at large isn’t a place for me, honestly speaking. It’s notoriously hostile to Black women, and I don’t personally see a drastic change in that – it’s just about as white as it always was, they’ve just done a great job of looking more diverse, and those authors who’ve carved out a spot are doing an excellent job of raising their voices and making themselves visible. The façade looks really great, but the real numbers are damning.

8) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

Absolutely not! I’m – obviously, I think – a pretty big proponent of self-publishing. If you have a story in your head or on your heart, write it. Have it edited. Have a cover designed. And publish your book.

At any age.

9) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?

It’s very important to me to let my characters… live. To be who they are, and make mistakes, to cuss a little and react badly, to apologize and make up too fast, etc. That’s what I think is unique about my art – more than I care about entertainment, I care about my character’s humanity, and making sure it shines through, which I believe really resonates with my readers. It’s vastly important to me that even though the characters are fictional, they feel like real people – not flat caricatures that fit a certain archetype I need to tell the story. Writing characters that feel like family, friends, enemies, etc, that readers love, hate, relate to, cry with, celebrate, etc… that’s my purpose, and I feel like I’m immersed in it pretty well.

 

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