Welcome Tanisha Jones! Thanks for joining me on Arielswan.com. I know you have been busy with Mardis Gras this past week. I am excited to hear more from authors from The Aponte Literary Agency. So…
What is the earliest book you remember loving?
I’ve always loved books but a couple of my favorites have always been Little Women and To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve always been drawn to outspoken and spunky characters. As I’ve gotten older I like the characters that do things they aren’t supposed to do or what they aren’t expected to do.
What genre do you write?
I write dark, sexy urban paranormal romance with elements of theology and mythology.
It may be clear to some, but could you define for us what “urban paranormal romance” entails?
Well, unlike some paranormal stories, mine are in a modern urban location. Big modern cities like New Orleans, with elements of the paranormal but based in the real world. Some paranormal novels take the reader to a fictional town or a parallel unviverse, my writing is based on real locations, landmarks incidents that have happened in the actual city. And the romance – well romance is romance .
What other genres do you love to read?
I read all genres but I am drawn to the darker sexy mysteries both paranormal and procedural with aspects humor.
How did you come to writing?
I began writing in elementary school. Being an only child until I was eleven years old, I had a vivid imagination and would write and put on plays with my dolls.
What inspired you? When I was eleven, my mother, who was pregnant with my sister bought me an antique typewriter, from the 1930’s and I decided to write a play.
Oooh. I would love an old typewriter now. But I can’t imagine writing a novel on one. I am assuming you don’t do that either, but can you imagine? I always think of Hemingway standing up at his.
It was a unique experience. And I wrote either on a typewriter or by hand until entered college. But I loved that old typewriter , it was one where you had to flip the ribbon, and actual ribbon over once you reached the end and it had keys that would come up and strike the page. Sometimes they would get stuck together and I’d have to pull them apart. I was the only kid in sixth grade with typewriter ink on their fingers all the time.
What path did you take? My path has been a sporadic and twisted road. I have always written, but only recently have I begun to focus on it seriously.
Can you be more specific? What was the process of getting an agent for you? (If you don’t want to share, I will take out the response to your answer).
Well, my path to getting an agent was atypical. I became seriously ill in mid April 2011. When was released from the hospital and realized how close I had come to actually dying, I thought- I can’t go without at least trying to become a published author. So, that’s what I set out to do. I completed The First To Fall in November 2011. My aunt, who was an English teacher for 39 years and has her master’s in English read and edited the first draft. My plan was to simply self-publish through Amazon and that would be that. She said that it was good enough to be a best seller. I laughed and she passed it along to someone else who agreed, then another person, and another. They insisted that I try to get an agent. I relented and started submitting in January- by the end of February I was contacted by Victoria at Aponte, and early March- I signed the papers. I know that’s not typical, I know some people wait years, but it gave me the confidence to keep going.
What do you have to say about the process to getting published? Getting published is something I have had a love/hate relationship with. Before I signed with Victoria at Aponte, I was self-published. It’s been a confusing and sometimes discouraging, but I feel better knowing that there is someone behind me, someone other than family, who believe I have a talent and want to work with me. It takes patience and a thick skin to go through the process. It also takes a confidence in your own ability to get through the process.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing now? Do you recommend it?
I recommend self-publishing if you have the time and resources to do it. It takes a lot of time and initiative and it has to be your entire focus. If you can do that, this it is a good idea. If you’re like me a single parent who works a full time job and needs a steady income- it’s hard and with my daughter being only ten years old, it is very, very hard.
If you are published, what is one thing you’ve learned that you didn’t know before? I’m not published. YET. But I do believe that I will be very soon. Like I said, confidence is key.
What is your book about?
My book is called The First to Fall and it’s a story about love. Ok, really, without giving too much away, it’s about New Orleans police detective with pre and post cognitive abilities who meets the woman on his dreams, literally while investigating the missing body of a dead rock star. He is drawn to her immediately, she’s sexy, smart and mysterious and whenever they see each other the sexual tension is palpable.
As he gets closer to her, he begins to realize that she is not at all what she seems and neither is he or his entire life. Soon, they discover that they are destined. It’s an epic love story that has been centuries in the making.
It’s the first in a series.
What do you seek to achieve with your stories? I want people to love these characters as much as I do. I want to prove that there is a HUGE market for African American and Multicultural paranormal romance. Not only are my characters black, they are bi-racial, some are bi-sexual, and some are gay, none are typical or stereotypes. I want to develop a series that crosses all color and gender lines and shows that you can have a successful story without placing characters in a box. None of my characters are what they seem, they are always- more. Like most people, we are always more than our appearances, if that makes sense.
I agree that there is a big market for multicultural paranormal romance. It has not been a focus for many, and yet, I think it takes a book like The First to Fall to open up a wide stream of audience.
I believe it does. Especially with women- I mean my aunt is in her 60s and she loved it. My readers range in age from early twenties to late seventies. There is a huge untapped market. And I’m ready with my tap and a hammer.
What book to movie adaptation do you love? Ok, this is a good question because I love movies almost as much as I love books and I have a tendency to read a book before I see a movie. I love Life of Pi, the way they translated that into a movie was not only cinematically accurate, it was just beautiful. Stunning.
I loved Life of Pi. I teach the book and think Ang Lee did an amazing job. It is so hard to do. Do you fantasize your book becoming a movie? Who would direct it?
I do. I find myself watching movies and seeing actors thinking he/she would be great as- whomever. As for a director- Joss Whedon (of Course) or Christopher Nolan, McG, Paul W.S. Anderson, The Wachowskis- great action directors…Ang Lee has the ability to meld action, fantasy and romance. Whoever it would be would have to promise not to make it Twilightesque.
Another of my favorites is Stephen King’s The Stand. I read the book long before the mini-series was made and I must say that is one of the truest adaptations I have ever seen, it translated beautifully.
My daughter and I have also gone through the Harry Potter movies, which are great and Now we’re onto the Hunger Games, which made me nervous because I read the books and when we saw the first movie I was worried about how it would translate- killing children and all- but they handled it perfectly. I think these particular YA novels translated so well to the screen because they haven’t tried to be the next Twilight.(The appeal of which completely escapes me.)
What is the last book you read for fun? I read constantly. This week, it’s Maya Banks No Place to Run and Janet Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty. Next week, I think I may read James Patterson, Anne Rice and a couple of Harlequin romances, if I have time between school, work, writing and being Mommy.
If you could have any super power what would it be? I would freeze or slow down time but I would move at normal speed. We spend so much time doing so many thing, my kid and I and I just want to spend more time with her .She’s ten now and she’ll be a teenager soon and I just want to pause every once and a while and enjoy life. And I could get a lot more done. 24 hours in a day, not nearly enough.
Thanks Tanisha! That is great. It is so interesting hearing what powers people would have if they could.
Thanks for being here and I look forward to promoting The First to Fall .
Thanks for having me.
Tanisha D. Jones
Author of Dark Sexy & A Little Twisted Urban Paranormal Romance