Antoinette Shar’ron Johnson is a New Jersey native. She has been writing for 20 years and has held the positions of editor-in-chief, assistant editor, staff writer, contributing writer, columnist, design artist, and layout director for various magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. She has published over 150 articles in print and online to date.
Antoinette will be graduating in the summer of 2010 with her master’s degree in education, curriculum, and instruction from the University of Phoenix. In 2009, she became a trained literacy tutor, in 2005, she received a journalism certificate, and in 1991, she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Montclair State University.
Some of Antoinette’s future writing projects include a memoir, drama, romance, and mystery novels for adults, women, and teens, and children’s books. Antoinette has been married for over 20 years and has two children.
What genre do you consider yourself?
Drama/Romance/Mystery. I had to combine the three because that is how I see my life and writing style.
Synopsis of my most recent book – No More Hair Drama
No More Hair Drama is a non-fiction book which chronicles the journey that an African American woman has taken in the world of hair through the many different styles, processes, times, and attitudes toward African American women and their hair. It is designed to be a learning tool showing the many challenges and pressures that African American women feel regarding their hair.
This book is a true testament of the African American woman’s journey into the pursuit of the perfect and ideal style and how that, at times, ties into a woman’s self-esteem. The chapters in the book take the readers on a walk through the past, present, and future of hair. More specifically, the book provides details on historical figures such as Madame C.J. Walker and the Bronner Bros., the hair care industry, hair care through the decades, the perspectives of men and women, the relationship with corporate structures, spiritual, physical, and cultural aspects of hair, etc.
After I locked my hair on December 26, 2001, my mission was to tell a story about my plight in finding myself through my hair, being comfortable in my skin, loving my distinct African features, and truly loving who God made me to be. It is my estimation that women of African descent continually connect hair with self-esteem and self-worth to the degree that women look at extremes – if our hair is “nappy” or “kinky” then it is bad, and if our hair is “straight” or “loosely curled” then it is good. No More Hair Drama is designed to be empowering, inspiring, motivating, uplifting, and a conversation piece for African American women and women in general.
Titles of all of your books:
No More Hair Drama is my first book publication. However, I have written a number of essays, short stories, articles, and columns throughout the years. I am working on my next book, which will be another inspirational publication.
What made you decide to become an author?
I am a firm believer in divine intervention. I believe it was my destiny to write and God placed the opportunity to write a book in my pathway at the right time. He has given me the love and passion for words and writing so I do not believe I had any other choice. Although I have played it safe for many years by working in a position that is more conventional, I decided to step out on faith and out of my comfort zone to follow my purpose.
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
What I enjoy most about being an author is the ability to effect individuals positively with my words. My mission is to empower, inspire, motivate, and uplift people to move toward their dreams and make them reality. I believe by sharing a positive story with people that will give them motivation to follow their path and purpose in life. If they see that I took a chance on my dream, perhaps they will take a chance on their dream whatever that may be.
Do you read? Do you think it is essential for a writer to read?
I love to read. I believe that a good writer surrounds his or herself with as much educational material as possible. The author should read in the genre he or she is writing as well as other genres of interest. I would definitely classify myself as a lifelong learner on a continual path to education.
Traditional publishing or self-publishing? Why?
I have chosen self-publishing for my first book because I wanted to have complete control over the project because it is my first book. I did not want to be told to make changes that would have taken the book on a different path. Therefore, I followed the instinct that God gave me and decided on self-publishing for my first book.
How are you giving back to the literary community?
I recently became a literacy tutor. My goal is to work with adults in literacy, and once I complete my master’s degree this summer (June 2010), I will be moving into the field of education working with individuals on English, reading, writing, and literacy to a larger degree.
Give one tip you would give to new authors.
One tip I would give to new authors is to be patient. You have to realize that having a book published takes a lot of patience because it is time consuming. In addition to the negotiations with the contract, proofing the book takes time and effort.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since becoming an author?
The biggest lesson I have learned is based on a scripture (Luke 12:48), which says, “To whom much is given much is required.” I know that this journey can make an individual weary, but God will provide the strength and tenacity to endure. As I think of the lessons I have learned, I realize that following your destiny propels you into an arena that makes you accountable to people. I feel the need to uphold myself in such a way that I do not let people down with my actions. What that said, I will continually strive to be the best that I can be and follow the positive example that my mother and grandmother have set before me.
What is the one thing that irks you about the literary industry?
The one thing that irks me is the difficulty of getting published through the traditional route, which forces some authors to use the self-publishing process. I appreciate the ability to have creative control of my writing projects through self-publishing, but it can be tiring to do all of the marketing and promotion that goes with being an author.
Give your ideal writing atmosphere.
My ideal writing atmosphere is a place that is serene. I love writing in the comfort of my home in my office when the house is quiet or writing at the library, which is one of my favorite places. Also, I do my best work at night because my creative juices seem to flow at that time.
Who, What, When and where is your next event?
My next meet and greet event will be at the Central Jersey Caribbean Festival on Saturday, June 26 from 12noon to 7pm. Currently, I am working on securing events for the summer. People can check my website (www.writingsbyasj.com) for updates.
Suggest a preferred literary service.
A preferred literary service that I would suggest is marketing and promotion. This is a service that authors need especially if they are self-publishing.
Suggest an independent bookstore.
An independent bookstore that I would suggest is the Hue-Man Bookstore in New York City is a popular bookstore in the tri-state area, and many authors who frequent the New York area have done signings there.
What is your view on the new direction of publishing?
The new direction of publishing is very exciting and innovative. Technology allows individuals who would not ordinarily open a book to view books in digital form literally in the palm of their hands. I think it enhances an individual’s reading experience.
Give an inspirational quote.
This quote is one that I created, “If you want to change your circumstances, your circumstances must change.” Simply put—the only way you will make changes in your life is by taking the steps toward making changes. Do not let fear stop you from making necessary changes in your life. You have nothing to lose by taking a chance.
Where can readers find your work?
Currently they can go to www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, or www.trafford.com to purchase a copy of my book.