Please all welcome Ines Johnson to the blog! She’s here to promote her latest release, Pumpkin: A Cindermama Story!
What types of books are on your bookshelf at home?
I’m obsessed with Ernessa T. Carter. Her book “32 Candles,” is an 80’s fairytale retelling for women of color. Other than that book, the rest are an assortment of PNR, YA, and erotic romance novels.
Which TV show(s) can you absolutely not miss every week?
I bite my nails until Wednesday comes and the Cookie Monster comes onto Fox. I love “Empire.” This is good ratchet, urban television. So often in the past, black characters were either perfect like Claire Huxtable or gangster-drug abusers caricatures. “Empire” gives you characters who are both at the same time! Even though they are all a hot mess, its about time black characters got that much depth.
If your life were a movie, what would it be rated (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17)?
Sadly, my life is G-rates. Until I take out pen and paper!
How long have you been writing?
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 advice would you give to another author who’s struggling with procastination?
If you’re serious, you’re only allowed one day off a week. And on your day off you should be plotting in your head.
How many hours do you spending writing each day?
I spend at least two hours a day writing, but often far more. The most I’ve written in one day is 4551 words. How do I know that? Because I keep a log. I record what plot point I was writing, where I wrote, what time I started writing, how long I wrote, and my word count.
I typically Fast Draft with a friend; a competitive friend. I recommend writing along with competitive people. It forces you to get the words out. I also believe in incentives and I give myself stickers when I meet my word count -a trick I learned stalking Laini Taylor’s blog.
What does the area where you write look like?
I do my best writing at hightop tables where I can alternately sit or stand while typing on my laptop. A cuppa is a must. My favorite is a cuppa soy chai, sweetened with honey.
Why should readers consider buying your books?
My story is a fairytale retelling of the Cinderella story, but in my story, Cinderella married the frog first and had a baby. There are no fairytales featuring single mothers as the heroine…until now.
What inspired you to write your latest release?
This story is based on actual events. Shortly after my divorce, I was out with my two children at a community farmer’s market. A really handsome politician waved me over and began chatting with me about his platform. I was more interested in his light-colored eyes. But my burgeoning fantasy was dashed when my son sauntered over and embarrassing words spewed from his mouth. I ushered myself and my kids away, chiding my silly imagination. What man would be interested in a single mother of two school-aged kids? There are no fairytales featuring mothers as the heroines.
That night, I rewrote the events of the day to my liking. In my imagination, the light-eyed politician asked me out, after winning over my guard dog of a son. We got married and I moved out of my apartment and into some big mansion with a closet stocked full of name brand clothes. Oh, that closet…
Anyway, it was October, and so I plotted the book for the next month of NANO. The completed manuscript sat in a drawer for years because I didn’t think anyone would want to read a story where a single mother was the hero. Thankfully, I was wrong. Every woman deserves an HEA.
On your road to mega stardom, what types of interesting or odd jobs have you held?
I went to school for producing and screenwriting, and worked in the broadcasting industry for over a decade, before trying my hand at novel writing. I wrote my first novel in 2009. It was based off a script that I wrote but couldn’t find the financing for. I was so proud of my work, but readers and critique partners noted that it was evident that I was a screenwriter and didn’t understand the mechanics of novelization. Screenwriting consists of action and dialogue. That’s it. In scripts, there is no internal monologuing and setting is minimal. I had some learning to do. Five years, and a ton of classes later, I’ve got four published novels lush in setting and internal angst.
What can readers expect from you next?
I’m reading a nonfiction book called “Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex” by Robin Baker. The title reveals the subject matter. Its about what goes on inside a fertile woman’s body. Did you know that less than 1% of sperm is designed for fertilization of the egg? There are Terminator sperm that engage in warfare with enemy sperm from the Part-Time Lover. Its fascinating! Its research for my current WIP.
Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.
Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.
When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.
The Grand Gesture
The Mistress of Ceremonies hurried through her introductions and then the microphone was in Manny’s hand, but he didn’t take out the notes of his prepared speech.
“Many of you knew my mother,” he began. There was a murmur of nostalgic assent throughout the crowd.
“You may not know that after her diagnosis, she spent most of her days watching romantic comedies. She believed she could laugh the illness out of her body. Her favorite moments in these films were something called the Grand Gesture. That scene just after all hope is lost because one of the lovers, normally the guy, has done something stupid that’s led to the end of the relationship. So he thinks up this bold, romantic move to get the woman back.”
A glance around the room told Manny that he held the largely female crowd in rapt attention.
“An example of a grand gesture would be a guy telling his estranged wife that she completes him in the midst of an angry mob of women. Or rescuing her underwear from the class geek and returning it to her at her sister’s wedding. Or holding a boom box over his head, in front of her bedroom window, early in the morning, while blasting the song that was playing as he deflowered her.”
A different wave of nostalgia swept through the crowd this time as they remembered these treasured moments of Hollywood cinema.
“In the real world, some people might call these behaviors creepy, or stalker-ish. But not my mother. She loved them. She believed in love, believed that when you loved someone you said it loud, you showed it often, and you never gave up.”
Manny paused here, partly for effect, mostly to collect himself as visions of his mother’s joyous face played in his head. He rubbed the heel of his hand against his chest.
“The national divorce rate is 50 percent.”
There was no surprise in the room, where most of the men were older and the women on their arms were younger.
“There’s never been a divorce in the Charmayne family. Not one recorded anywhere in our family line.”
The sparkle of young women’s eyes threatened to blind Manny from where he stood on the stage.
“What that means is when a Charmayne gives you their pledge, they are committed.”
The decision was a split second one, but once Manny made it he stuck with it. He stepped around the podium, mic in hand and dropped to one knee. The gasp of every woman in the room was near deafening.
“To earn your vote, I will do whatever I have to, including blast Peter Gabriel in the streets. Charmaynes don’t quit. I’m committed to this, to the people of this town. I hope that I can count on your vote.”
The room erupted in thunderous applause, and the women’s eyes sparkled even brighter.
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: An ebook give away of “Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story”
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to the RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Answer the question: Which fairytale heroine do you most identify with, and why?
Deadline: 11:59 pm EST on March 20th
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes open to U.S. entrants only.
About the Author
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 scandalous 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.
Connect with Ines online: