Where did you get your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc come from? CCJ: As the youngest child of siblings with a large age gap, and parents focused intently on keeping food on the table, I had to entertain myself, so I’ve always been deeply mired in my own imagination. Reading , playing with barbies, long walks in the woods near the house where I grew up - all of these developed that imagination to a place with very few bounds.
Any author(s) that you feel influenced your writing? CCJ: Definitely Eric Jerome Dickey - I remember having his books put in my hands way too young by a well-meaning librarian and having my eyes completely opened to a world of Blackness I’d never been exposed to. It showed me early on that the Blackness of your characters was not a limit - a lesson I take with me to my desk every single day. There is hardly anything I “can’t” write because my characters are exclusively Black.
Can you tell us more about the content on your YouTube channel? CCJ: My YouTube channel is a place that encompasses a lot of the parts that make me whole. I want to share my experience as an author, talk about crafting, talk about cooking, show people my process of building a house, etc, etc. It gives me a chance to talk about books, talk about my work, but also so much more!
How do you research for your books?
CCJ: Deep, deep dives on Google. I’m on reddit, I’m on decade-old blog posts, I'm on youtube, I’m watching classic commercials, whatever I need to get both the factual side of whatever I’m looking for, and the human side as well - the real people who’ve lived these things and been open about their stories. It all plays a part.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing? CCJ: I’m up at five in the morning, at my computer. I stop around seven to get my kids to school, then it’s right back to the computer, or possibly into workout clothes to walk a few miles while dictating the story into my phone. Back home to shower, have lunch, and then right into editing the dictated words. I’m at the computer until about 3pm, when it’s time to get the kids from school - and usually after that, my work day is done, but lately I've been trying to coax myself back for a bit of evening work.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? CCJ: Don’t let a few negative experiences jade you from being your bubbly, open self. Not everyone is going to resonate with what you do, or you, and that’s actually okay. For real. It’s fine. Your people will find you, and you’ll be perfectly fine.
Which one of your books is your favorite? CCJ: Right now (because it changes) that title would be Deuces Wild. I go back through those pages with such pride at the suspenseful, emotional story I was able to put together.
What are you working on now? CCJ: I’m working on Raised By Wolves - Book Two of my Predators Motorcycle Club series, that I’m hellbent on getting finished for an April release!
Will there be another collab with Love Belvin? CCJ: I hope so! I love working with my Love! We’ve actually (very, VERY briefly) toyed with the idea of a different series outside of the Connecticut Kings, so even if they’re done giving us stories (which I’m not sure they are), I’m 97% sure she and I will work together again on SOMETHING.
Where can readers find out more about you & your work? CCJ: I’m all over the place - my website, YouTube, Instagram, tiktok - look for @beingmrsjones wherever you are on the internet, and I’m very likely there too!