9/12, 7 p.m. Book reading with
Jesse Chapa Jones
Old Books on Front Street
249 North Front St. • (910) 762-6657
People have been having sex forever. It’s as natural as food and water, according to writer Jesse Chapa Jones. That a genre is dedicated to it should come as no surprise to readers; in fact, erotica has been around for ages. With the resurgence of its steamy pages heating up women’s fantasies across the country as of late, courtesy of the New York Times Bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Jones’ self-published fiction, “Thinking Nasty Thoughts,” offers readers another trip into fervid Utopia.
It all started for Jones with a poem. Though holding a master’s degree in liberal arts, she aspired her authorship not by gaining a degree in writing, but after reading E.E. Cummings’ “She Being Brand” and “May I Feel Said He.” “I found them in English 101 and wrote my first erotic story right about then,” she remembers. “Both poems are so insanely evocative and sexual!”
Something within simply let loose in the writer. So, when she approached a coffee shop after having a less-than-stellar day last year, Jones channeled that inspiration once again and opened her laptop. The release flew over her. “I just wrote the first chapter out of nowhere,” she says. “What a shock and delight that was. I learned by doing. [Writing] was just in me. I’m thankful.”
The characters in “Thinking Nasty Thoughts” remain everyday people: Cherry’s a good Christian girl who yearns to fully explore her naughty side; Jeremy’s a husband, father and lost soul in the midst of a broken life; Becca’s a tatted-up, uninhibited spirit, whose life isn’t bound by rules. Relatable and surprising, they manage to captivate readers at the onset of the book, which rolls and frolics in a fast pace immediately within its first words. By page three, readers already get a glimpse into the kink and forthrightness of Jeremy.
“Cherry and Jeremy, the main characters, grabbed me from the beginning,” Jones explains. “I love Jeremy’s unbridled anger and libido, and I love Cherry’s somewhat desperate yearning. They’re both people everyone knows; people going through shit. People will recognize some of their own nasty thoughts in what Cherry and Jeremy have to say about sex and life.”
Aside from reveling in this fictitious world of pleasure—of the self and tandem kind—Jones enjoys the freedom allowed from this style of writing. Whether educating her characters on the ways of fellatio or guiding them into a sex shop for the first time, she cradles them and her readers in a safe zone—no judgement, no shame.
“Sex is absolutely natural, but there’s this awful taboo,” Jones explains. “When I write erotica, it’s freeing. There is so much freedom in expressing that part of me in a ballsy, honest, juicy way.”
With stories published in two erotica anthologies, Best Women’s Erotica 2012 and Cowboy Lust, Jones’ adventures go far and wide. “One character is a female chef on vacation in Mexico,” she explains, “and the other is a cowboy out for revenge. I had a lot of fun bringing both to life.”
Jones knew at an early age she wanted to have great escapes and boundless experiences; little did she know they would involve imaginary scenes of thrust and lust. Perhaps it was all an indication at an early age, when she can remember picking up a pail of red paint and a brush for her inaugural writing venture. “I first learned to write ‘hot’ (no kidding!) and ‘cat,’ and covered our fence in those words,” she tells. Today, Jones takes on a more x-rated vocabulary, which will have readers reaching for more than just a thesaurus or dictionary. They’ll literally feel the breadth and depth of the lexicon, but how they choose to execute after is all their own choice.
“There is a great tradition of erotic writing,” Jones says. “‘Fifty Shades’ shows how hungry people are to be able to explore sexuality through reading. It tapped into a raging current, which is marvelous. There’s also the personal element with a book—you can read it alone or with someone you love.”
Though Jones sent “Thinking Nasty Thoughts” to numerous agents, little response led her toward self-publishing the work. Regardless of another’s stamp of approval, she wanted it to see a deserving readership.
“I thought, ‘Why wait for someone else to decide my work is worthy?’” she notes. “I decided it was time to get it out there and find my audience. Self-publishing is a labor of love, for sure. I put a lot into the publication process, because the book is so good, and I wanted to do it proud.”
Lovingly calling it “smart smut,” folks can pick up a copy locally at Old Books on Front Street. Better yet, Jones will be there on September 12th to read from its pages at 7 p.m.
In such a chaotic world where many of us allow ourselves little release—audacious liberation in its truest form—Jones promises its relinquishment here. She even boasts its necessity.
“Modern lives are so over-scheduled, so fast, so stressed out,” she explains. “I don’t believe people, as a whole, take the time to really release. Or to prioritize pleasure for pleasure’s sake. We were built for sex and the more we can do it, think about it and read about it, the healthier we can be.”