She secured her first publishing deal at the tender age of 17! Since then she has secured the bag by publishing 17 books that have captured the attention of people all over the country. In fact, her writing skills are so nice that she has become a national best-selling author… and the gag is (as one my favorite people, Keke Palmer, would say) she’s only 20 years old - - talk about young BOSS moves. YAS HONEY! (as I would say)
Who is this “she” that I’m referring to?
SHE IS NONE OTHER THAN THE TALENTED JOHNAZIA GRAY. Reigning from Tallahassee, Florida, Johnazia Gray is changing the game and challenging the status quo. Raised primarily by her mother, grandmother, and Godmother, Ms. Gray didn’t grow up with a large family network of support. Yet and still, she has mastered the ability to transform her life challenges into fuel to go after her dreams even harder.
I mean Ms. Gray hasn’t even reached the legal age of 21 and she is already a publisher, an author, and Florida state worker. At 21, I was… let us just save that spill for another blog post.
My mother, who is an avid reader like myself, actually introduced me to the book "Another Woman's Husband: A Sinful Love Affair". I’ll admit at the time I was a novice to Johnazia’s novels and had no clue about her background when I read this book.
After reading her book I was left craving for more. Will Michelle lose her husband the same way she met him? The plot was so intriguing. You couldn’t have convinced me that all of these juicy story lines came from a teenager at the time (Johnazia recently celebrated her 20th birthday).
On top of the intriguing plot there were some.. how can I say this.. juicy parts. You ever watched a movie with your parents and a sex scene came on? It kind of causes you to do this thing where you’re peaking up then looking all around. I found myself reading her books in the same way - -pausing to check my surroundings just to make sure I was the only one reading these interesting sex scenes.
When I finally found out that so much description, talent, and drive came from a lady that’s younger than my youngest sister, I knew I had to interview her. I know that if she can inspire me, she can also inspire at least one of my SimplyMei subscribers to be a dream chaser too!
Getting To Know Johnazia
Driven and spunky.
Interviewing with author Johnazia was truly energetic but relaxing in the same token. I felt like I was simply talking to my best friend from around the way - - the best friend that just gives it to you straight and keeps you laughing. Read on for the exclusive SimplyMei interview. We’re talking about life balance, struggles as a writer, upcoming projects, and MORE!
Q. Tell me about how it all started out. When did you begin writing?
A. I begin writing at the tender age of nine (laptop)
Q. What inspires to write?
A. My life and the things that’s going on around me inspire me to write. The same passion I have for reading books is what I have for writing them. When I’m writing I feel at peace, in another world. It takes my mind off of the bad.
Q. You are a very busy lady. What all do you have your hands in right now?
A. Right now, I am currently working on my very own T-shirt line, three books (1.A Dope Girl’s Ambition 2, A Baton Rouge Love Story 2, and a new series and that title is TBA!), and making sure my authors are taken care of with their careers.
Q. What’s your secret girl? Being so young, how do you find time to balance work, life, and your aspirations of writing?
A. Sometimes I don’t and can’t balance. Some days I’m losing my mind and I’m all over the place. My social life is kind of off. Whenever I’m hanging with friends I have either my laptop or my notebooks with me and those who love and understand where I’m trying to go respect that. My life is based around writing my books, running my company, and coming to work. Other than that I’m doing nothing but trying to find more and better ideas on how to be successful. I don’t complain much though, I prayed for it and God gave it to me so I have to work hard for it. Period!
Q. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
A. If I’m focused it usually takes me about two weeks to write a book. If I’m distracted, I’ll say about three weeks. Sometimes I can go 24 hours writing, sometimes 5 hours, maybe even 2. It’s usually the mood and what I’m aiming for at the moment.
Q. Does writing exhaust you or energize you?
A. Depending on what mood I’m in. Sometimes writing gets me pumped and sometimes it makes me so tired.
Q. While we are talking about your creative process, do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
A. Writers block is real! I get it all the time and it’s so annoying! Whenever I have writers block I usually sit the book to the side and read a good ubran fiction book by one of my favorite authors. It gives me time to not think so much about the book that I’m working on and before I know it I’m ready to start back working.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. My favorite book of all times besides my own will have to be “The Coldest Winter Ever”!
Q. What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. Not knowing how they operate to the fullest. Not knowing what’s really going on in their minds has to be the most difficult thing. Us women authors tend to write these amazing male characters that we may fall in love with, but is that really how men think or act or is that how we want them to think and act? I hate that sometimes the male characters that I fall in love with are created by women because sometimes as women we write about what we WANT and what we EXPECT. I really yearn for these men to be exactly how bomb these authors make them, but in this world that we living in you don’t seem to come across them much.
Q. You’re young and successful. While we want people to like us, realistically everyone won’t. How do you deal with negative criticism?
A. I run into negative criticism all the time and the way I handle that is by not handling it if that makes sense. *Giggles*
Q. Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. Not many which I’ve learned to deal with. At first it used to hurt, but now I’m like WTH ever.
Q. What does literary success look like to you?
A. Hitting the New York Times Best Seller’s Chart!
Q. What advice would you give an aspiring writer who wants to be successful?
A. Stay focused, stay consistent, and stay motivated! That is all!
Want more from the sassy author from Tallahassee, Florida?
Find Johnazia on the following social media handles:
Facebook: Johnazia Gray
Facebook (sponsor page): Johnazia Gray Presents
Twitter and Instagram: Author_Johnazia.
Thank you for being my special guest Johnazia. Until next time with...