From Amish fields to fantasy fortresses, the settings of Nattie Jones’ books are as diverse as her memorable characters. Jones’ scope in storytelling is just one reason for her popularity with fans. Her understanding of the kind of readers who enjoy her work is another factor; Nattie Jones, who started writing spanking fiction to understand and work through her own desires, pens characters her readers can relate to. What started as personal exploration has let Jones to life as a busy writer. We are pleased that she recently granted Blushing Books an interview about her work, her life, and her thoughts on accepting a lifestyle that once made her feel shunned and confused.
Blushing Books: Before I interview an author, I familiarize myself with their work. When I interview an author like you whose range of writing is so broad, I can’t help but wonder at the inspiration. After all, it’s a big leap (pardon the pun) from dragon masters to Amish farmers. So what inspires Nattie Jones?
Nattie Jones: My very first story was a bit of a lark, where I was just playing around with the idea of writing and was probably a bit too inspired by the stories of a certain boy wizard. After that, though, I wrote spanking fiction as a way to both discover and process the desires inside myself that I was only beginning to understand, which lends itself to more realistic settings.
As time went on, though, I stopped caring why I craved spanking or if it was normal. It just is. And so I think my fiction entered a very different phase, where I was enjoying fiction for fiction’s sake, instead of as a way to process and understand my kinks. I think there was also a period of trying to find my voice and struggling to grow as a writer, which caused me to jump around genres a lot.
Blushing Books: The women in your stories learn lessons in submission, but they’re strong and accomplished in their own right. In Never and Forever, the main character is a top model. In fantasy novels like Aztan, the women leads are empresses or warriors. Are you sending a message to your readers that a woman can be strong and still be submissive? Do you think there’s a misconception that women who are submissive are naturally weak?
Nattie Jones: My early experience with discovering other women who liked to be spanked was that they seemed to mostly be teachers, nurses, and VPs—all people in charge of others, in a position of power. I think there are two parts to that trend: first, after being in charge all day, being not in charge at home is blessed relief of a burden we feel acutely. Second, the qualities that make one desire to serve another person are the same ones that drive one to serve well in their jobs—they do good work and look out for others, traits which naturally lend themselves to leadership positions. Politicians are called “public servants” and “civil servants” for good reason.
Blushing Books: Amish-related books are very hot right now. In the bookstores there are loads of them in romance and Christian fiction. Many people wouldn’t think that characters that live such simple, wholesome lives would lend themselves to erotica, but your Amish-related books are quite popular. What do you think draws people to the characters in books like Plain Passion , Simple Pleasures and Restless Rumshpringa?
Nattie Jones: I’m not sure my books fit in with most Christian Amish fiction. I think most readers of Amish fiction—including myself—are looking for an escape into a simpler life for a little while. Most Amish fiction is quietly set back a few decades, because many Amish fiction readers don’t like when things like cell phones and cars intrude into the escape to a simpler life that we’re reading for. In my experience, there is a clash between the stereotypical, wholesome milkmaid characters prevalent in Amish fiction and the reality of some Amish young men and women.
Amish teenagers and young twenty-somethings are exactly that: teenagers and twenty-somethings, with all the drama, hormones, rebellion, and restlessness that age range entails. As “Englishers,” we see the plain dress and our impression is of a simple, obedient life. Likewise, I think we sometimes interpret their quietness toward the outside world as submissive shyness—when in actuality, many young Amish men and women are vivid, vivacious, and such highly-socialized people that they are amongst the best conversationalists I have ever met—and incredibly outgoing, enormously friendly, and with double the social confidence that most of us “Englishers” can ever hope of developing.
The stereotype most certainly exists, but it is not the rule or the fact of all Amish people. When I write Amish fiction, I have to choose between the stereotype and true details I’ve learned or seen. When I choose the truth, readers will sometimes write to correct my fact with a stereotype, LOL.
So it was always a challenge for me to write Amish fiction—and still is, because I want to provide readers with the escape to a simpler life we all crave, but as a writer, I’m also fascinated with exploring and showing the emotional truth of my character as she is.
Blushing Books: Do you have a favorite genre? Or character? How much of yourself do you put into your characters, and how do your male leads exemplify the ideal mate?
Nattie Jones: I loved Ivy in The Street Urchin. Between being adopted and struggling through an illness in my twenties mostly by myself, I have always been acutely aware of what it’s like to feel alone in the world.
Things are exaggerated in fiction, though. My experience of watching my friends and acquaintances fall away when I was sick turned into characters who are violently cast out and rejected by society. My experience of feeling alone and of being adopted turned into characters who tend to have no family at all—or a family that has completely rejected the character.
As far as the male characters go, I think in the first few years I wrote, I was writing to find that perfect mate. I’m older now, LOL, and I know no man is perfect. In fact, I’ve come to love that which makes us flawed. Our flaws are like the beauty of wrinkles on an older person’s face. So much story and experience—that’s what makes us interesting. Ideal or perfect doesn’t have as much draw for me as it did when I was younger.
Blushing Books: Writing coaches will often tell aspiring writers that the key to success is to “write what you know.” From your blog I’ve learned that you don’t just write about the Domestic Discipline, but you also live it, and you offer safety tips for women seeking a partner in the lifestyle. Why did you think it was important to share this information?
Nattie Jones: That information was all given to me by older and wiser men and women when I asked how best to find a spanking partner, about ten or eleven or twelve years ago. I merely collected it in one document, so that other woman could benefit from it, too.
As far as living the lifestyle, it’s been quite a while for me. Funny thing is, I always quickly forget how much a spanking hurts, even an hour after it happens. So now there’s not much difference: I still forget how much it hurts, years after the last one. J
Blushing Books: You admit to being a lifelong spanko. How do you think the Internet and the surge of spanking-related erotica is helping men and women who pre-Internet were confused or ashamed by their unusual desires?
Nattie Jones: I always secretly believed I was crazy to have these fantasies. I once showed a diary page of one of my fantasies of being spanked to one of my best friends in middle school, and she never talked to me again. I ripped it out and never told a single person after that. When I discovered Bethany’s Woodshed maybe twelve or fifteen years ago, I was so relieved to learn that I was not alone and that I was not crazy.
Blushing Books: I was intrigued to read that you have an alter-ego of sorts – a Kit Sparks. Your blog says you write under that name when you feel “especially naughty.” What can you tell us about Kit and her work?
Nattie Jones: Kit Sparks writes ageplay. She hasn’t done much writing in the past five or six years, but I keep thinking she should. J I took that pseudonym to distinguish my normal spanking fiction from the ageplay fiction, which is more intense and full of lots of spankings, enemas, and other yummy things.
Blushing Books: So what’s next on the horizon for Nattie and/or Kit? Are you working on new books or exploring possible new genres?
Nattie Jones: Right now, I’m working on the second book in my Vampire Court series, which takes place about 200 years ago in an alternate reality where vampires are the monarchs. The first was The Vampire’s Lash, and right now I’m writing The Vampire’s Tawse. Probably there will be four; the last one I love. I’ve been looking forward to writing it since I began the series.
After that, I’ve been toying around with a series about elves—not little people, LOL, but the tall, dignified elves who live long, immortal lives, and also have a dark and dangerous trickster side when it comes to their interactions with humans.
Editor’s Note: Nattie Jones’ Plain Passion is one of the titles featured in our latest book trailers. To see it, go here.