Jonisha Rios is an accomplished screenwriter, television writer, actress, and director. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she teaches writing workshops. She also co-created the Awakened Warrior Yoga Teacher Training program and teaches healing workshops. She is available for one on one consultations. Link can be found through her current website at Curse of the Blue Vagina.
Congratulations on the release of your book, Curse of the Blue Vagina. When did you start writing and what got you into women’s fiction?
The Curse began as a writing journey for me almost ten years ago back when I was producing theatre. I had done quite a few one-person shows and traveled a bit. My whole goal with the solo show was to ultimately use that as a jumping off point to do stand up comedy which at the time scared the crap out of me. I figured once I got comfortable doing my own shows then stand up would come easily.
Well that was not the case. To this day I still get stage fright whenever I’m doing stand up. However, writing became an intimate expression that didn’t require a two-drink minimum or the pre-stage jitters. I decided after touring around with my theatrical pieces, that I would host a class to help others create their own personal showcase. It was during that writing class that I held in a girlfriend’s living room, that I received the inspiration to collect all of my theatrical pieces and flesh them out to create what is now my book.
What is your book about?
My book is about the emotional journey women go through (be it physical or sexual,) when we are emotionally unsatisfied in love or in life. Whether it’s dealing with a break-up, loss of a job or even a loved one – sometimes as a woman I get stuck on the feeling of it all. So I wanted to explore that concept. Then one night after having some wine with my husband we joked about the term “blue balls” (the physical pain a man feels when he is sexually unsatisfied or gratified), and I realized that women have their own version of blue balls, only for us its beyond physical, its also emotional – hence Curse of the blue vagina was born.
What is your inspiration for this book?
My book is a collection of two narratives and one-act play. What inspired these pieces were three distinctly different things. For the first story I wanted to explore the dynamic of first time love. My aunt who had cancer inspired the second story. I was blown away by her incredible faith despite her unfortunate diagnosis. And the third inspiration I would say was a night out with the girls whose vivid conversations had stayed with me long after our night of hanging out was over. I remembered each story had a life of its own and a clear voice. So if I had to summarize in one word, I would say unshakeable amazing women inspired my book.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I truly hope this book puts a smile on anyone’s face that reads it as well as gives him or her a sense of empowerment. For me this collection is really a love letter to those who have loved and have lost. It’s a reminder that no matter what, there is always something to laugh about and something to appreciate in everyone.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
I take a break. I just don’t force myself to write if it isn’t flowing. I do have a schedule and on days I don’t feel like writing, I usually step away to take bubble bath, or turn on some music. I may even play with my son. These things shift my perspective and that’s when the words just flow again. When you take some time for you, the writing block will go away.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book?
By not reading it again lol! That is how I know its time to move on. When I have worked out all of the kinks and am officially ready to move on, that is when its time to put the book down. It is complete. Once that happens I celebrate by producing a show to showcase the material in some way. It’s truly remarkable when other artists lend their voice to bring my work to life. I love it.
How do you define success?
My definition of success is simple; if I took a creation from start to finish I am successful. I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently where she said, “I just want to make it already. I feel like my time is up.”
I replied, “Who says you haven’t made it yet? Don’t let worldly expectations become your reality. You made it because you get to choose to do what you do in a world where many people don’t believe they have that choice. You have done more than anyone, even if you played a carrot in a school play – you did more than someone out there who will never that chance, so girl – I don’t wanna hear it – you did make it.”
I am successful, whether you believe me to be or not, simply because I lived my dream without waiting for someone’s approval. If you are waiting to “Make it” your missing it. Create and then live it and when your piece is complete you will sit back and marvel at what you accomplished, because you created something out of nothing. That my friend is success. (And it does help a little to know that I made it to Barnes and Noble.)
Where is your book available?
Currently my book is available at Curse of the Blue Vagina as well as Barnes and Noble and other outlets. Ideally if you purchase the book from me directly you get an autographed copy shipped from me to you. So please do that.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
My advice is: Learn how to format or hire someone who can handle it relatively easy. Make sure you tell them to give you a version you can correct. Even after having had my work professionally proofed several times I found that once the book was formatted, errors jumped out at me that I didn’t notice before. I was lucky enough that my formatter allowed me to fix these things, but it was a very expensive lesson. So I guess even before that step make sure you have your manuscript proofed no less than 5 times. And in the end if it’s still not perfect let it go. So long as people connect with the story that is all that matters.
Photo published with permission from the author.