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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to author Katrina Jackson about Black academia, creating what we want to see, the glorious intentionality of polyamorous relationships, writing internal conflict and happy-for-nows, stepping away from grind culture and why history is both fascinating and horny.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: We are happy to be here with y'all and we are very happy because today we are going to be talking to writer Katrina Jackson, pronouns, she and her. Katrina's a college professor by day and she writes erotica, erotic romance, and historical fiction by weekend. She writes racially diverse and queer stories that show love in the world in all its beauty and diversity. Hey, Katrina.
Katrina Jackson: Hi.
Kenrya: Thanks for coming on.
Katrina Jackson: I'm stressed, but all right, I'm here.
Erica: Bitch. Bitch, you should be stressed. You should be happy that we are not in the same room because I would fucking hit you. You wrote your ass off in this book like bitch, I hope you don't mind me calling you bitch.
Kenrya: Let me turn my damn volume down because you done blew out my fucking ears and I can't-
Erica: Bitch. We love all your books, right. “Welcome to Sea Port,” perfect. But this book, girl, we go in and in about it in the last episode about how beautifully you write and how steamy your scenes are. But you just capture it, so.
Kenrya: And it was so cool because I could see your growth. I was like... the writer in me is like, "Oh my God." We love-
Katrina Jackson: I literally...
Kenrya: Yeah. Go ahead.
Katrina Jackson: I told someone that recently that I'm just not the writer I was in like 2015, and that makes me really happy. There are some projects where I see that growth and it's really nice when other people see it too.
Erica: This one was-
Kenrya: When I say I devoured this book, like legit, I think I started it like before bed or like while I was waiting on my partner to get here, and I finished it the next afternoon maybe. Just flew through, didn't want to put it down.
Erica: It took me longer because I kept stopping to masturbate.
Katrina Jackson: Okay. Y'all tell, not like you specifically, but people tell me that all the time about like certain stories and I'm like, "Okay, I'm happy to have-"
Erica: Now, this one. This one I was like, "Oh, this bitch is on fire."
Katrina Jackson: Oh, yay.
Erica: Yeah, so. I call you a bitch in the most loving way possible because bitch-
Katrina Jackson: And I take it as such.
Erica: Bitch you did a good job, bitch. Okay. So thank you for joining us.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Erica: What did little Katrina want to be when she was growing up?
Katrina Jackson: Not broke, honestly.
Kenrya: Listen. That there, right there.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Kenrya: Say less.
Katrina Jackson: Right. Yeah, I grew up very poor. So I wanted to be not broke for sure. And then I wanted to be like, I think, a lot of little Black girls, I wanted to be a lawyer. That seemed like a legit career where you did not have to be broke. And I guess the other is doctor, but I don't like blood or bones and anything like that. So I was like, "I love books. I can do that." And then I also wanted to be a writer, but I thought that, again, like a lot of little Black kids, not even little Black girls, that seems so unattainable and I'm a pretty practical person. Even to this day I'm like, "I don't really understand how writers survive with this kind of environment. I need some kind of security."
Katrina Jackson: So yeah, and then I became a historian later because I realized, one, I don't like tests and lawyering seems like a whole bunch of tests to get to where you need to be. And I also don't like environments that seem needlessly combative, and that's how I understood law school. I had a friend who started law school before I did, and I was like, "Oh, girl. This is your life? What is going on?"
Erica: "Why are we arguing all the damn time?"
Katrina Jackson: Like literally. And I'm an arguer, but even I have my limits. And I was like, "So this is your job, you just..." So, no.
Kenrya: It seems stressful.
Katrina Jackson: It seems very stressful. And so I ended up in grad school, which unfortunately was not that different, but it seemed different on the surface. And then I was like, "Oh, damn. This is just the same thing, but three more years. What?" So, yeah.
Kenrya: Okay. So then how did you come to be a writer?
Katrina Jackson: So I wrote when I was younger. I was definitely a kid... I'm still pretty shy, but I was a very shy kid. So I was really internal, I spent a lot of time by myself. I read and then wrote a lot. And then I wrote horror stories when I was a kid. And then in high school I was very dramatic and wrote a whole bunch of slam poetry, and that was that. And did that into college. And then I just stopped writing when I went to grad school because I think a lot of my friends after college had lives and I just stayed in school. I don't know if that makes sense, but when you go to grad school or like some kind of extended school after-
Kenrya: It's consuming.
Katrina Jackson: It is. And so all of my friends were like getting married and being in relationships and I was at the library, checking out 60 books at a time like, "Can I just come pick these up later?" I wasn't living in the real world, it felt like. And I was working on my master's and hating it, disliking the whole process. My advisor was kind of a mess. I was more than kind of a mess. And so I just started, first of all, reading fan fiction again and then reading erotica again. And then I just started writing my own. And that was like, I don't know, like 2008. And then I've just been writing consistently since then.
Kenrya: All right.
Erica: So who or what inspires you to write?
Katrina Jackson: I mean, there are lots of writers that I have loved and I remember sort of going back to in that moment. I was definitely... I have always read erotica when I should not have been.
Kenrya: Same. Same.
Katrina Jackson: So I definitely remember reading that Anne Rice erotica when I was far too young to be reading any of her books, let alone that series. I had a cousin who was like my gateway to urban fiction and she would just hand me whatever she was reading. So that's how I read my first Zane, and I read Zane very consistently after that. And then, so I think those writers sort of like set in a path for me. And there were other people, I always liked Sista Soulja et cetera.
Katrina Jackson: But I think in terms of my own writing now, I'm a little adversarial in that I will write a book because I don't see anything either like it or with people like me in it, which is definitely where “Looking” came from. But all of my books are sort of like, "Oh, there are all these things that exist in romance or erotica, but there aren't fat Black girls, there aren't Black girls at all, there aren't Black men." And so I am a little adversarial in that I'm just like, "Oh, I don't see it or I can't find it and I've looked. So here is whatever I'm writing now."
Kenrya: Right. I know you were saying earlier, the idea that folks are just out here writing and supporting themselves is still kind of like, "The fuck?" How do you balance your writing with your day job because that's a lot too?
Katrina Jackson: Yeah. I mean, so I say there are like two phases. So certainly before 2019, I was just writing late into the night, early in the morning, in little snatches when I was in a meeting I didn't want to be in, whatever. And I would just kind of fit it wherever I could. And I burnt out, so I do not recommend that. And then now I'm trying to be a little bit more rigid in terms of scheduling and even scheduling breaks, but fitting it in where I'm naturally most productive. So I will wait here today because I'm most productive in terms of writing in the morning. So I'll wake up, make coffee, and I can sit down at my computer and write for a little bit.
Katrina Jackson: And I'm trying to be kind about thinking about when my job at the university actually requires me to work because I think academics are really great about working 24/7 and never giving themselves a break or prioritizing things that their university wants or that they say tenure needs or whatever, whether or not it feeds them. And in the past two years I've been really firm about when my university requires me to work, like when I'm teaching, when I have to be at meetings, when my students or colleagues are more likely to contact me. And then outside of those times I'm not working for my university. I'm just not doing that. And then that time can be anything else.
Kenrya: That's what's up.
Erica: It's crazy.
Kenrya: Go ahead.
Erica: No, you go, Kenrya.
Kenrya: No, I was just... A lot of folks on my Twitter timeline are like Black academics or whatever, I don't know really how that happened. But folks are always just talking about how the academy is, about the anti-Blackness of it and about how one of the ways that that comes through is this culture of overwork and under-reward, right? And so much of combating that I think is remembering the agency that you have, which is what it sounds like you're doing.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah. And I think the really sad part is I knew all this. I knew all this before I got my degree and I got my job. I was really lucky in that all of my PhD advisors were people of color, most of them were Black, of varying generations even, right. And so somehow even, though I watched their careers be disrupted by the ways in which departments didn't reward them... like my first advisor was certainly a mess, but he was a very intelligent man, not the most effective teacher, but just ridiculously smart. Right after I got my master's, he didn't get tenure and then he left. And I was like, "Well then what does that mean? What do I do?" And I was saved by a whole bunch of Black academics and other people of color.
Katrina Jackson: But even at the time, even as I was like, "Oh, I'm free of him." I was like, "This is actually incredibly ridiculous." This is a man who did all the things, in some cases more of the things, that he should do and his university didn't reward him with the thing that academics are supposed to be rewarded with, which is tenure. And so then he moved around. And I knew all of that, I saw it happen to other people and I fell right into that trap where it was like, "Okay, one more thing. I'm going to take on one more committee. I'm going to advise one more student. I'm going to grade until two o'clock in the morning," or whatever it was.
Katrina Jackson: And they tell you, this is going to be a bit adjacent, but they tell you, "Oh, after tenure it'll be better." And so many academics learn, "Oh, actually after tenure, it isn't better." And then especially being someone from my background who has... I have no safety net, I do not come from a family of means. I take care of myself, like in people who are relying on me in some way. And so they tell you after tenure the money will be good. And the money's not good when you came in making less than your colleagues who are white and or who got that job a generation before. I mean, it's just a whole bunch of lies. And so setting that boundary was part of me finally accepting that I wasn't going to like, whatever, talented tenth my way out of the bullshit.
Kenrya: Shit. Yeah.
Erica: That's a word.
Kenrya: That's a whole word.
Erica: Especially for our cousins that are looking to head into academia.
Kenrya: Or who are looking to break out.
Katrina Jackson: Well, look. Look.
Erica: So buy this book.
Katrina Jackson: Buy this book so I can break out.
Erica: It can be found on Patreon.
Kenrya: Exactly. Lord.
Erica: So here on the podcast, we use erotica as the jumping off point for conversations just about everything, including sex. So we always like to ask about the lessons folks learned when they were growing up. So what was the prevailing attitude about sex and gender in your home growing up?
Katrina Jackson: Oh, that's a great question. I think I got a lot of mixed messages about both. On the one hand, I think I got a lot of messages that sex was taboo or secret. And on the other hand, in some ways I grew up in a family that was fairly liberated relative to sex, partially because I didn't grow up in the kind of family that tied sex and marriage and children. My mother was a single mother, actually so were both of my aunts. And so I grew up in a family that was really female-centered. And yet I also learned really sort of negative and regressive messages about what women could do, what women should want out of life, and how men should behave.
Katrina Jackson: And then on the other hand, I grew up with a grandfather who was always literally right there helping his three children with, at least from my child eyes, very little judgment about how they handled their lives. And then I grew up in a family that sort of revered his relationship with my grandmother. And then a few years ago, my mother and I found out that my grandparents were never married. And so I had all of these very mixed messages about gender and sex. And I think a lot of my, in particular my 30s, have been sort of pulling apart those messages and trying to save what I think actually served me.
Katrina Jackson: I am not married. I have no kids, which is very rare in my family, generally speaking. And there are moments in my life where I felt very unhappy about that as if I was failing in some way. And yet I don't actually think that's a message that people in my family have necessarily put on my back, but it's something that I thought I should feel bad about. So I also would say though it's true that like, I don't come from a family that talks about sex or gender explicitly, a lot of what I learned was because I was a really quiet and observant child, which meant that I learned some of those hypocrisies because I didn't have the full story, right, so.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So last week, as we said, we read an excerpt from “Looking,” thanks again for that. And the book stars Nadia and Darren, a married couple that realizes that they want to bring a third, Jourdan, into their marriage. Where did the idea for this particular book come from?
Katrina Jackson: So I love polyamory. It is in a whole bunch of my books. But I had always written polyamorous relationships where everyone is very experienced or at least very ready. And for the longest I had wondered what it would be like to write a married couple that has no idea what they're doing. And in particular, also to write a queer woman who realizes in her 30s that she's queer because that had just not been an exploration she had gone on before. And so this was the story. And in the beginning it was supposed to be, first of all, shorter. The plan was that this would be like a smooth 15-
Erica: We said that. We said that in the episode. I was like, "Is this a short? Because we read it so quickly, it was hard to like... We couldn't recall.
Kenrya: But I remember you tweeting that you kept trying to write shorts, but them shits kept turning into full-on projects.
Katrina Jackson: Yes. So this one was supposed to be like, I don't know, 15,000 words, something like that. It's 50, and I don't know how. I mean, I know how that happened, but I was just definitely like, "What the fuck is going on here?" But it's because in the end I really wanted to write a relationship that had, because I prized this in polyamorous romances that are done well in my opinion, where everyone has a distinct relationship with one another. And that's how I approached this section.
Katrina Jackson: So like Darren and Jourdan have a specific relationship, Jourdan and Nadia have a specific relationship... whatever, all of those iterations, and that mattered to me. And I just, in my foolishness, thought I could do that very quickly and be like, "Well, story over. We're done." And that's just not realistic. So yeah, it sort of came from really wanting to think about what it's like to build a foundation of a relationship and not have to think about or... 10 years they have gone through all these things because you can imagine them going through these things hopefully because they have very carefully set a foundation for a relationship they'd like to have together.
Erica: We've had interviews in the past with people that practiced ethical non-monogamy. And one of the things that stood out is, I think one of the questions we asked was like, "What do you want people to know about ethical non-monog?" And I recall one of the guests saying, "Our relationships aren't interchangeable. We have very specific relationships with each person." And I think it's beautiful that you were intentional about that in this book, and it came across. So that was dope. As we mentioned, we featured another one of your books, “Welcome to Sea Port,” on the show. And that book was also about a polyamorous relationship. So what draws to you to write about these characters?
Katrina Jackson: I'm bi, and so I like to write whatever I like, and it's easy if I can put it all in one book. But I don't have to think about it. So I think that's one thing, but-
Erica: Why choose?
Katrina Jackson: Yeah. Why choose, truly? But I also think too that so much of what I like about polyamorous relationships is I think the hopeful, if it's done well, again, for me, is the intentionality, right. I think it's super easy to write, and maybe it's accidental, but I think it's really easy to write sort of, in particular the MF erotica and male/female erotica or romance where it's not intentional, like I'm just supposed to believe these people are together because they want to be together and there's nothing sort of there, right. And while I love insta-love or instant lust, I think you still have to have something to get past just the first sexual encounter or whatever. Now, if it's just the first sexual encounter, Lord also send me that, right, I'll also write that. But if-
Kenrya: And I'm the queen of being like, "But why do you like him? He's an asshole." Or like, "What? What is it?"
Katrina Jackson: But you don't have to like someone necessarily to fuck them, which is lovely, right. And so there should be, at least for me, a distinction. And I think polyamorous romances actually do require you to be more intentional because it's not just like, "Oh, we have this one night stand." And like in the ‘Welcome to Sea Port’ series it's not like, "Oh, we had this one night stand. I'm never going to see you again." This town is that big, right. So you're going to see these people again, and so there has to be something there. So I do like the intentionality of a polyamorous relationship. Yeah, I would say those are the two big things.
Erica: Okay. And that kind of leads us to our next question. So in the last episode we talked about how Jourdan's experience caused her the first blow up that they had. We talked about how her past experiences caused her to come in hot in an interaction with Darren. And it rang so true to us, I was reading that shit like, "Whoa."
Erica: So how do you write internal shit so well? Because we feel it, and even as adults, it takes us a while to even do all the links and then be like, "Oh, shit. That's why." And you write all of that shit out. You write it out and then it sounds good, so...
Kenrya: And it made sense, right, when we started because we didn't... So we're trying not to spoil, so we didn't talk about what the blow up was. But when we thought about their previous interactions [crosstalk 00:23:10].
Erica: How you laid the scene, it was just like, "Oh. Shit. Yeah."
Katrina Jackson: So, one, I'm a pantser, so none of that was planned.
Kenrya: I was going to ask, are you a pantser or, what is it, plotter?
Katrina Jackson: Plotter. Yeah.
Kenrya: Is that what the other people are called? Okay.
Katrina Jackson: I could not plot my way out of a paper bag. I could not. But I-
Erica: You're doing well. You're doing something right, so just keep at it.
Katrina Jackson: I think though, that it's nice to hear that you all think I do internal stuff well because I'm not an external conflict writer. I almost never write external conflict. And if there is external conflict, it is usually based in the internals of the relationship anyway.
Erica: Do you know what? That is why I love... didn't I say that this book was gentle? Your last book was gentle, it was just... It's-
Kenrya: Just them getting through their own shit.
Erica: Getting through their own shit.
Katrina Jackson: Because that's hard.
Kenrya: It's not some ex waiting in the wings to fuck shit up. It's not some vindictive bitch on the corner who want him to... It's just working on your own shit.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah, which is hard as fuck.
Erica: I didn't mean to cut you off, but that was...
Katrina Jackson: No, it's fine. But again, it's nice to be seen. It's always nice to be seen because I just, I think... Internal shit is hard, and I think we often in our society don't acknowledge that. And this is, for me personally, so often I am literally my own barrier. People will be like, "Ooh, I want to do this thing with you. Ooh. I want to work with you. Ooh, I want to support you." And I'm like, "But why?" And then that but why could stop me in my tracks forever or months or weeks.
Katrina Jackson: And again, like all that stuff that I've sort of learned in my family or I thought I learned in my family, so much of that I had to realize in my 30s was also me, right. Me making connections, me deciding that I was going to give that space in my brain, even when I was actively saying no to other things, I made decisions and I stood in my way. And I think a lot of that comes out in my writing because... so I, again, will get rid of external conflict or not even consider an external conflict because for however many people in your relationship, you all have to get out of your own way, you all have to decide to get out of your own way to be in this relationship.
Katrina Jackson: And that is a lot of work when done well, right. It really can't be that like, "Oh, we just decided I'm going to get over all this trauma in my past and tomorrow is a new day and everything is lovely." Which is why in so many of my books, I will even say I don't traditionally think of any of my books as a happily-ever-after, I do tend to think of them as a happy-for-now because they still have so much to go through, right. So I think in the book where I think, "Okay, you can imagine them in two years or five years or 10 years still having the tools to work through things or at least being willing to get those tools."
Kenrya: That's a really interesting point. I barely think about where people end unless it feels like it went on too long, right. I'm thinking of one book that I read in preparation for the show at some point where I was like, "Oh, we can stop right here." But it did not stop right there. It was fine because I liked the characters, but I remember being like, "I could have just imagined the rest of this and it would've been okay."
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah. Huh, that's interesting. But happily ever after is such a huge part of what makes this genre move forward. I never thought about the idea of happy for now.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Kenrya: Much more realistic.
Katrina Jackson: I mean, kind of. And again, I think everyone is a different writer and that's fine. And I do also know that because of that, I'm not going to be everyone's favorite writer, which is again also fine with me. But I do think that my stories, I do, stories like this, obviously not all of them, stories like this, I am trying for realism, right. So what 100% makes sense for someone in Jourdan's position to come into this relationship with a slightly older, established, married couple and have to reevaluate herself because they're reevaluating themselves, but for very different reasons that hopefully speak to people like this, because I am writing people who are like people I know or who I imagine exist in this world.
Erica: Also, even the internal conflict was not, "My husband thinks she's hotter," or, "My wife thinks she's hotter." It was just normal shit that people deal with.
Kenrya: Well, it wasn't the shit that people would project onto a couple that was practicing in this way, right. Like isn't that the thing that we would project on people, "Oh, it's got to be about attraction."
Erica: Yeah. Exactly.
Kenrya: "It's got to be jealousy."
Erica: Exactly. And it's like, "Nah, she's just feeling her own... Yeah, she's going through her own shit that's normal that if you were just with one person that was super established, you'd be having these same concerns." It was good, yeah.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you.
Erica: I keep saying that, but...
Katrina Jackson: Thank you.
Kenrya: No, that was an excellent point. You're right. Yeah, absolutely. So this book is part of your Patreon rewards. We're wondering what made you decide to go with that distribution model for this?
Katrina Jackson: Oh, not asking me questions where I have to be self-reflective. I hate that for me.
Katrina Jackson: So I think some of this was part of me setting a boundary. I think if you'll talk to any indie author, they will tell you that they have to produce at a certain level to stay on top of the algorithm to sort of stay fresh in their readers' minds, whatever. And there was a moment in my career where that's exactly what I wanted. Like in 2020, I was like, "Yep. I want to be on top of that. I want to be publishing regularly. I want you to not forget me and whatever."
Katrina Jackson: And then for a lot of different reasons I had to, one, let that go. And then, two, realized that wasn't actually what I want. I don't want to be everyone's favorite Black indie author or Black author of romance or erotica. Truly, I do not. Please, Jesus, let a bitch write, right. I think that carries a lot of weight. I think it carries a lot of responsibility and I value peace straight up, right.
Katrina Jackson: And there are some stories that will be harder for me to sell. This is not necessarily one, this is very much in my larger body of work. But there are other things that I have put on Patreon or will put on Patreon that will be a little bit harder to sell wide and that's okay. And so I wanted to, one, create a little bit of space between me and what feels like a grind, where I'm always trying to pump something out.
Kenrya: Churn something out.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah. So that I could then have this space to try something out, something a little different. Or even like with this one, I serialized it, so I published about 20,000 or so words a month. And that worked out really well, especially in the beginning, not so much at the end where I was like, "Oh, we've got to wrap this shit up. This story is ending," but it wasn't ending.
Katrina Jackson: But that was really nice to do because then it meant that I was still always writing, I was making room for writing in my life, but I wasn't publishing a book a month or publishing a novel a month. And then it also meant that people who... like I have a very random or have very random sections of my readership. Some people only read something, some people read everything. The people who end up at my Patreon will read, for the most part, everything that I write. And so this was nice because it meant that they got to get that stuff first or in this case they are the only people who get this. And so I am at least present in their mind in a way that I don't have to be present in this sort of general romance space because I don't really want to be present there, at least not in the same way.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Okay. So... Oh. Go ahead.
Kenrya: I've just... one thing that has happened for me over this last year, probably a year and a half, it kind of feels like it's mirroring like what you're talking about, this real reevaluation of, "What does success look like for you? And what are you willing to do to get it? And what does it do to your quality of life as you chase that?"
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Erica: And the quality of work.
Katrina Jackson: And the quality of the work, 100%. Yeah.
Katrina Jackson: I think-
Kenrya: Go. Yeah.
Katrina Jackson: ... you're 100% correct. I'm a fairly low-key person, period. Even in my academic work, I don't have any particular... which is why I publish as an academic much less frequently than other people want me to or other people in my position. I would like to do the good work, but I would also like to sleep. I would also like... and I have not done a great job of that by any means, but I would like to do those things.
Katrina Jackson: And so I do produce, as an academic, a little less frequently. But I also don't need to be out here giving the big lecture in my field or publishing a book every other year or whatever. I don't. It doesn't matter to me. I would much rather be present in my own life, be present for my students who are much more focused and much more real in my life than like whatever accolades come from publishing in certain ways. But with that said, I think it's also really easy, even when you make peace with that decision, to have moments where you think, "I would love to be recognized. I would love for people to not forget that I exist."
Katrina Jackson: And I think in the last two years I had that moment where I was like, "I would love to be recognized. I would love to have people know that I exist." I would love to not see people on my timeline on Twitter say, "Oh, I wish there was a... whatever, this kind of book." And I'm like, "Here I am." But would I love that recognition over peace? Not so much. And so I had to deal with that.
Kenrya: Yeah. That's pretty powerful when you get to it, it doesn't mean it's easy, but-
Katrina Jackson: And it doesn't mean you stay there either, right. You're going to have those moments where you just have to remind yourself of what matters to you, of that core goal. And also too, I think you said, which I have also struggled with, is there are certain things I'm not willing to do. There are things I'm not willing to write to be more successful, straight up. And I've said this publicly, I'll say it again, I truly don't give a shit. Every time someone acts a fucking mess, I turn one white character who I want to write into some person of color, I don't give a fuck.
Katrina Jackson: I am not interested in writing... And look, my Mafia series fucked up my percentages, so no one's seeing a white person in my catalog for a hot second. I don't care. And I will always unabashedly write queer Black people and Black men. I mean, I think that is a thing that we, as in romance, need to deal with. The lack of Black men in certain spaces is very particular. The lack of queer Black men and women certainly is a problem. So I was very deliberate here in that everyone in “Looking” is Black, straight up.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, even in “Welcome to Sea Port,” what I loved, we just keep going back to all your books, in “Welcome to Sea Port,” I loved that the throuple was like everybody... wasn't just-
Kenrya: Everybody loving on everybody.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Erica: Yeah. It wasn't just a V, but it was a triangle. And that was refreshing to see because we don't see that, especially by Black writers, Black women writers. So we could talk and go on and on. Okay. So what did you learn from writing this book and what do you want readers to walk away with?
Katrina Jackson: I learned that I have a terrible grasp of time and how long the story will take, and I need to work on that, straight up.
Erica: It's to our benefit though.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you. I wish that was the joke answer, that is actually, literally, the answer.
Kenrya: Yeah. That's real shit [crosstalk 00:37:06] time management is important-
Katrina Jackson: It is.
Kenrya: ... and hard.
Katrina Jackson: And very hard. Very hard. So that's what I learned. I think what I want people to take away from it is things that I have had to deal with or am still dealing with internally, that it is really never too late to sort of reevaluate your life and really center the things that make you happy. And in that process, it is never too late to just not give a shit what everyone else thinks.
Kenrya: Yes. That's actually one of the things that really did stick with me and we didn't really talk about it. It's hard, since we want to talk about concepts, we also don't want to spoil shit. But the fact that they completely remade their life and their family,
Erica: Their family. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We touched on it.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:38:00] That shit's hard. Yeah, we did a little bit. That shit's hard, and they was like, "Fuck, yeah."
Erica: "We're going to chase happiness. We're going to follow our joy." And that was... Yeah.
Kenrya: And there were never any moments where, again, you kept it to the internal conflict that wasn't about what the fuck other people were going to-
Kenrya: ... say in it. That was super refreshing because I think so often, and I've read, well, we've done, at this point, quite a few polyamorous books on the show, but often that is the conflict, right, we all go out and we have to deal with somebody being a bigot, that's always the thing. And that wasn't, and I love that that wasn't it because they figured that shit out together.
Katrina Jackson: I think-
Erica: Because there are bigger things to be more concerned about.
Katrina Jackson: Right.
Erica: And so... Oh, sorry.
Katrina Jackson: No, that's literally the point, right. That's literally the point. I do not tend to write a lot of kids in books, I don't care.
Erica: Fuck them kids.
Katrina Jackson: Right. I mean-
Erica: As a parent, I can say that.
Katrina Jackson: ... I love children, I just... but I have actually been writing a lot more kids accidentally in a bunch of my stories because I think that, like in this particular case, what is the point of worrying about what other people are going to think about their relationship when they have... Like Darren and Nadia have two sons who are primary, right. And so in the back of their mind is like, "Is this a good person? Could this be a good person for our child? And is this a good person who can be a part of our family?" And that has to override... if there was going to be any external conflict, it would've been that because that's the part that matters. But we are so worried about what some old white lady thinks about you holding your girlfriend's hand while your wife is there. I mean, it's just, what's the point?
Kenrya: Fuck her. Yeah.
Katrina Jackson: Truly, right. Or even just that the other bigger things are to consider how you make everyone in this relationship feel whole, right. How you deal with and handle of your needs. Like how you even deal with your living situation so that everyone has space, right, which is why that sort of epilogue is really significant because it, not to spoil, but it sort of shows you that everyone is in this relationship to make the entire family happy, not just themselves or not just one other person. And I think external conflict is hard, but so often it sort of takes over from doing the necessary internal work and the necessary work in your relationship or family in a book that you can end the story wherever it ends, whether it goes on too long or not, thinking this is a relationship that can last.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's real. It's like people who like to stir up drama rather than deal with their own shit.
Katrina Jackson: Hello. And I've been that person, so it don't make you happy.
Kenrya: It does not.
Erica: Do you have a favorite line or passage in this book?
Katrina Jackson: No, I forgot that whole thing. I published that last chapter on Patreon and I was like... You're lucky I remember names. Every time I write a sequel, I'm like, "Who is this person? Did I give them a last name? What color are their eyes? Are they tall, short?" I'm trash. Absolutely not.
Erica: Okay. And that is all right.
Kenrya: That's funny. What's your superpower?
Katrina Jackson: What? Right now I think it is my ability to learn how to be honest with myself or I am learning how to be honest with myself and it's hard and I'm doing it anyway.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.
Erica: Okay. So since we're talking about good things coming in threes, we're going to ask you your top three. So I'm going to name a category. I want you to give me your top three. Okay?
Katrina Jackson: Okay.
Erica: Top three people in the world.
Katrina Jackson: Aw, come on. Okay. Like my mama. I love all my nieces and nephews, but my middle niece is absolutely fantastic. And I mean, he has long since passed, but my grandfather is still my absolute favorite person.
Erica: Okay. Top three songs.
Katrina Jackson: So the first part of “Hold On” by Adele has a hold on me right now. Not the whole song, just the first two verses and the chorus, absolutely in love with that. The “Homecoming” version of “Formation,” absolute hold on me, play it all the time.
Kenrya: I listen to that album still.
Katrina Jackson: So often. Which is-
Kenrya: It is my favorite.
Erica: I can't listen to her regular music.
Katrina Jackson: No, because then you start singing.
Erica: I can't listen to a song without hearing the “Homecoming” [crosstalk 00:43:31].
Katrina Jackson: Yes.
Kenrya: Absolutely. It is just phenomenal.
Katrina Jackson: Absolutely. Which is why the third is actually the “Love On Top” version from “Homecoming,” which is my favorite version of “Love On Top.”
Erica: Y'all going to have me listening to Bey. Ooh, I'm going to listen when I get off...
Katrina Jackson: I just like the progression, like oh my God, I could-
Kenrya: And her transitions are the fucking best. And then when you can hear this other song coming in the background. And I still have moments from... So Erica and I have been to see her live [crosstalk 00:44:04].
Erica: Every single show since Mrs. Carter.
Katrina Jackson: Oh, okay.
Kenrya: Yeah. And all in different cities, we travel. But I remember the first show we went to, she was doing... Oh fuck. Oh God, I can't remember what the original song was, but she put “Flashing Lights” in it for two seconds and it sank into my soul. And so now every time I hear the song, I hear it, and I can't forget. Her transitions are just like fucking transcendent. I just-
Katrina Jackson: I think if you grew up on DJ mixes on the radio, she speaks to that part of you. And there is nothing I love more than an uncanny remix that brings something back from forever ago, something you grew up with, something you ain’t heard in 10 years.
Erica: That's my shit.
Katrina Jackson: Literally. And so I also... it is no shock that I prefer the live versions of a whole bunch of her songs to the studio versions because just what she does with [crosstalk 00:45:10].
Kenrya: When you hear... like when you know, I'll be like, "Yes. Yes. This is for real niggas." Like when you hear the two seconds and you know exactly what's about to come next and you get hyped. Like right before “Swag Surfin'” comes in and you know that's what's about to fucking happen, and you know that's just meant for y'all, mm-mm (negative), can't. Yeah.
Kenrya: I get hype. Sorry.
Katrina Jackson: No, for real though, it's a perfect album, to be honest with you. For me at least, it's a perfect album.
Kenrya: And I had the bootleg version the one where somebody had recorded the actual show. So I was listening to that for like the year before it came out. But the real one is so much better, I just... but I still have that one too.
Erica: You can hear like the live [crosstalk 00:45:58].
Katrina Jackson: Even the band, there are moments when it's just the band and I'm like, "Oh, this is some real nigga shit."
Kenrya: That whole transition into “Party” where they're doing all the songs. Oh, bless them.
Erica: Okay. So this was not question, but I'm about to ask. Top three Beyoncé songs. Everybody has to answer. Top three Beyoncé songs.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:46:18] I don't know.
Katrina Jackson: Okay.
Kenrya: That's... Okay. You're playing.
Erica: I'm going to have to look at my phone.
Kenrya: Let me look at my playlist situation here.
Erica: Okay. This is... Oh, wow. Okay. So let me see what I got.
Katrina Jackson: I feel like the easiest way would just be to go to what I listen to all the time, but it's so mood specific [crosstalk 00:46:46].
Kenrya: Yeah, I got certain albums I listen to for certain things. Like when I wash my hair, I listen to “Black Is King.” I have a version that takes out all the like interstitials, that's my hair washing, for whatever reason.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Erica: Okay. Damn.
Kenrya: You asked this shit.
Erica: I know. I know. I know.
Katrina Jackson: I also feel like there's a very basic version of me, that's like when I'm writing romance, there are just a couple songs where I'm like, "I want to hear just this on the loop though. Nothing else."
Erica: Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so... This is so hard. So hard. Okay. And then also some of these songs are just because I love the performances. Okay, so I am going to say... Damn. I was listening to “Irreplaceable” in the car the other day, singing my fucking heart out. I was like, "Damn, that's a good song." So I would put “Irreplaceable” on it. Oh, “Don't Hurt Yourself” because that was my divorce anthem. And... this is hard, “Love On Top.” Kenrya?
Kenrya: All right. Listen here. So I think the first one is my first favorite that I've been ever had of her, so it's got to go on the list, it's “Get Me Bodied.” I can listen to “Get Me Bodied” over and over, and I have all these great memories of like... So every time, we play the extended version in this house. And so we do all the things, me and my kid, we walk across the floor, we do it all. And so it's got a lot of great memories because I just fucking love that song. I can't really dance that much anymore. I can't actually dance to the song anymore because of the energy that it requires, but it just makes me happy.
Kenrya: “Party”? I think it just goes up. So the theme you'll see, I like her faster songs. I like the ballads, but the ballads are not the ones that I play all the time. What are you about to say, E?
Erica: No, “Party” reminds me of a very specific homecoming at Bar 7, fucking packed to the gills, we're standing on the-
Kenrya: On the banquettes.
Erica: Yeah. Standing, drunk as shit, singing “Party.” And if I'm not mistaken, we were drinking out of a bottle, passing that bitch around.
Kenrya: That was a pre-COVID thing that we did.
Erica: And Bar 7 is literally like this big, and them motherfuckers would pack [crosstalk 00:50:07].
Kenrya: Like, try to go to the bathroom, literally my feet are off the ground because I can't, there's so many people. God, I used to hate having to go pee in that place. And... Oh wait, I had another one and I have now forgotten what it was. I'll come back with my third one because I lost it from my brain.
Erica: Okay, Katrina, your turn.
Katrina Jackson: Okay. I'll balance you out because I prefer her ballads. So again, “Love On Top,” the “Homecoming” version, even though sometimes I do play the studio version because I just want to hear that part at the end, where she is just like... And then it's also staged a bit like too... I prefer the live version.
Kenrya: You've got to get the modulation because it's just goosebumps. Yep.
Erica: I know exactly what I'm thinking.
Katrina Jackson: And then I am a sucker for “Blue.” It's just the sweetest song ever. And [inaudible 00:51:14] I'm absolutely part of the Ivy League, we do what we can. And then... Oh, shit. What was my third? Oh, actually this is not really a ballad, but “Me, Myself and I” will... I think I was going through a breakup, so it has like a very [crosstalk 00:51:33].
Erica: Bitch got herself the best breakup song. Ooh, that's a good breakup song. That shit will have you changing your oil by yourself like, "Fuck it."
Kenrya: Wait. Oh, that actually reminds me of my third one. It's “Grown Woman.”
Katrina Jackson: Yes. Oh, I almost chose that.
Kenrya: Yeah. “Grown Woman.” Which you can only... you have to watch the video to hear the song, which is fine because I adore-
Katrina Jackson: I have a rip of that from some video from somewhere, I don't play.
Kenrya: I just put the fucking video on, on my phone. I don't care.
Erica: I was also going to say “End of Time,” just because I love the performance, the one that she did, I want to say it was like at some like London stadium. Remember she was like, "Beyonce is going to be at the Oscars." And she's like-
Kenrya: Cuts her. Yeah.
Erica: Zoomed in. She did a Zoom performance that... So anyway. Okay. Last top three. Top three foods.
Katrina Jackson: Damn. Sushi, burritos, gumbo. I'm just real hungry.
Erica: [crosstalk 00:52:43] We could eat [crosstalk 00:52:44], it's okay.
Kenrya: You're right. Those are all delicious things. Well, I can't eat gumbo, but those are delicious things.
Katrina Jackson: Why can't you eat gumbo?
Erica: You can eat gumbo.
Kenrya: It always has meat in it.
Erica: But you could do it. You can do it without, with just the seafood.
Kenrya: Yeah. But whoever does that?
Katrina Jackson: No, I know lots of people who do that.
Kenrya: Oh I don't. I need those people cooking for me.
Erica: Shit, I can do it.
Katrina Jackson: Yeah, it doesn't have to apparently. So my mother's family is from Louisiana, a part of them are, but I'm from California. But apparently in Louisiana, you're not supposed to be mix the meat and seafood, which I did not realize. So apparently if you go to Louisiana, you can get just the seafood gumbo.
Erica: I have bastardized gumbo.
Katrina Jackson: Haven't we all.
Erica: And it's good gumbo, but I would never put it against like real...
Kenrya: Yeah. I always end up having to get like a seafood etoufee because meat. Everything's always got that fucking andouille sausage in it which...
Katrina Jackson: Yeah. But apparently it's not traditional. So if you go to Louisiana, you should be okay. But yeah, we bastardize it, we're like what is in the fridge? What did we get from the butcher?
Erica: I literally put chicken wings in my gumbo.
Katrina Jackson: Yes. Same. I grew up with the little drumettes.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah, them little joints at the [crosstalk 00:53:59].
Katrina Jackson: Yeah, the little drumettes, a big ass thing with crab legs, shrimp, hot links, all the shit in there. That is not traditional.
Erica: Damn, I'm going to make some gumbo this week. I'm going to make some gumbo this week, my son going out because he can't-
Kenrya: He don't have seafood.
Erica: He can't have seafood or some fucked up [inaudible 00:54:16].
Kenrya: And what are you reading right now?
Katrina Jackson: Stuff I don't even want to talk about because it's trash, but [inaudible 00:54:29].
Kenrya: That's okay.
Katrina Jackson: I'm on a science fiction kick right now. And I'm reading a whole bunch of not classic science fiction, it's all a mess. I'm mostly reading it and being unhappy because my brain likes to pull things apart and I'm just like, "What's happening here? Why is this happening? Why did he write it this way?" So I'm reading the Dune series because I like that movie. I love some Zendaya, so I'll watch damn near anything she's in. And then, here we are. And then I'm reading the “Wheel of Time” series, which is an honest to God mess. But I-
Kenrya: And they're just... Are you reading it because did you just watch it?
Katrina Jackson: Yeah. And I just want to know. But I did just finish “Barracoon” by Zora Hurston, which I'm reading for a class.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.
Erica: Okay. What's turning you on today?
Katrina Jackson: Sleep. Nothing. Nothing. I'm dealing with seasonal depression, and-
Erica: We're just making it.
Katrina Jackson: We're just making it. Yeah.
Katrina Jackson: That's all right.
Kenrya: That's the thing. What's up next for you? What are you working on?
Katrina Jackson: Like eight things at once because even though I just told you all I'm working on my time, I'm putting up boundaries, that still means I'm working on like 3,000 things. So I'm working on three projects right now at various stages. I'm finishing the last novel in my Mafia series, which is going to be the last white dude y'all see from me for a hot second. I'm working on the second book of my “Love At Last” series called “One More Valentine” about a divorced couple getting back together. And I literally, just this morning, started my next Patreon serial which is going to be an erotic romance set during the Harlem Renaissance, another polyamorous, but this one's MMF, so we'll see.
Kenrya: Okay. Sounds interesting. Y'all need to get on this motherfucking Patreon. Y'all heard that. By the time you hear this episode, it'll be up. You need to go on and get with that, so [crosstalk 00:56:49].
Katrina Jackson: Don't over promise because I am trash.
Erica: You are an amazing writer and sometimes perfection takes a little bit longer.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you. But I'll send you that one and we can maybe talk about my very big message to the historical romance community, which is our ancestors will fucking stop writing these sweet historical romances only. Thank you. I'll hop off my footbox now.
Erica: Yeah, we featured it.
Kenrya: They made us.
Katrina Jackson: Hello.
Erica: We featured a historical romance and-
Katrina Jackson: I know you did, and I'm excited.
Erica: ... it was hot as fuck.
Katrina Jackson: It's just so much space for like, especially in those moments where they were in smokey clubs, listening to jazz and shit, all that like alcohol had no regulation.
Erica: I said, I was like, "It took me adulthood." As a kid, you learn about the Harlem Renaissance, and then you grow up. It was like, "These niggas was fucking. There's no way-"
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:57:49] They was drunk, they was high, they was fucking.
Erica: And it wasn't happening. You had all these good unmitigated drugs and whatever you call it. All this moonshine that could turn you blind, it of course had to have your pussy sparkling, so yeah.
Katrina Jackson: Your pussy sparkling. So same thing about like the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power era, I mean absolutely trash, a whole bunch of terrible people there.
Katrina Jackson: A mess. But also-
Erica: I would've been throwing that ass.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you. Thank you. They were out here planning for the revolution while butt naked in bed with an Afro. It was just... it's my favorite thing about history.
Kenrya: Yeah. I would read that.
Katrina Jackson: Hello. I really need someone to write it. Because as a historian, a lot of historical romance authors are very much dedicated to writing Black people back into history, Godspeed. We understand it, respectability politics, no judgment. But also I didn't read a whole bunch of these people with memoirs and it was some shit happening and it was not all straight-
Erica: It was fucking bucket.
Katrina Jackson: That's the other thing. It was not all straight, so we need to let that go. History is fascinating and horny, and I feel like we are skimping on the last part.
Erica: History is fascinating and horny.
Kenrya: History is fascinating and horny. Yeah.
Katrina Jackson: My dog's going to be like, "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Erica: I was about to say, "Just know that's going to be a slide on the social media for this episode." FYI. Yeah.
Kenrya: It can't be undone.
Katrina Jackson: It's true though. I only take that thing when I'm wrong or lying, and I'm not either those things.
Kenrya: I like it. So folks can find you on KatrinaJacksonAuthor.com. And where else can they find you?
Katrina Jackson: I guess you can find me on Twitter being trifling every now and then, not as much anymore, @katrinaJax with an X.
Katrina Jackson: I'm on Instagram a little bit @KatJacksonBooks, I don't even know that handle, so don't quote me on that.
Kenrya: That's it. I'm looking at [crosstalk 01:00:06].
Katrina Jackson: I keep thinking about regularizing but I'm just... I don't care. And then I'm also on Patreon, I'm trying to be on Patreon a little bit more. My top tier, we get together once a month and just talk. I don't even know what we talk about.
Erica: Jesus, you've got some good hair. I clicked on your Instagram just to make sure that that was it, and there's this picture of you and your hair is just like...
Katrina Jackson: Yeah.
Erica: Just beautiful.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you. I do love my hair. I'll be out here. I'll be letting a whole bunch of things ago, I don't be calling people back on time, but I do love my hair.
Erica: Your hair is fucking like... Do not get mad if I see you and I'm like... You're like, "Bitch, are you trying to nuzzle my hair?"
Katrina Jackson: Do it, because look-
Erica: "My bad."
Katrina Jackson: Look. I'm the person who I'm like, "I know we shouldn't be just out here touching Black women's hair." This is why I'm going to ask you, "Can I touch your hair?" I want to touch everybody's hair. Or if you have like-
Erica: Your shit look [inaudible 01:01:07].
Katrina Jackson: I love hair. I'm definitely that kind of Black girl who's just like, I want to talk to anybody about whatever their hair looks like. If you got good braids, I'm like, "Who did your braids? What's going on? Let's go." I love hair.
Kenrya: That's how I feel about this sweater that you're wearing. I love this like sheer situation. I'm fascinated. I love it. Love it. Love it.
Katrina Jackson: I'm coming back here again, y'all got compliments.
Kenrya: That's cause we just... we love.
Erica: Yeah, we love your work. You're just... And this conversation made me love your writing that much more, so thank you.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you.
Kenrya: And you.
Katrina Jackson: You're like, "Also your ass."
Erica: [crosstalk 01:01:52]. That'd be real fucked up.
Kenrya: Our value is not in our work, it is in our being.
Erica: Yes. No, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sorry, I do not mean to make it [crosstalk 01:01:59].
Katrina Jackson: But I do consider parts of my work like parts of me. Yeah. I mean it's like, whatever, I write a whole bunch of academics who need to learn how to take a fucking nap and drink some water and let people love them because I have had that problem, people I love have had that problem. I mean, I'm not all of these people. Lord, I wish I was. But parts of them are parts of me, so I didn't take any offense at all.
Erica: Thank you.
Kenrya: Well, on that note, that is it for this week's episode of The Turn On. Thank you for coming on.
Katrina Jackson: Thank you for having me. Thank you for letting me harass you into having me. I have no judgment. I woke up one day and I was like, "I'm about to get on The Turn On pod," my Twitter will be like...
Erica: I was like, "This was the best DM slide I've had."
Kenrya: Yeah. Like, "The fuck?" We're easy. We're real easy.
Erica: Yeah, we're easy.
Katrina Jackson: My favorite people usually are.
Erica: Yes, so...
Kenrya: No, thank you for saying something. Closed mouths don't get fed-
Katrina Jackson: Also true.
Kenrya: ... not on this fucking boulevard, so.
Katrina Jackson: Also true.
Kenrya: Yeah, all day. So thank you and thank you to everyone for listening and we'll see y'all next week. Take care.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Hit subscribe right now in your favorite podcast app and at YouTube.com/TheTurnOnPodcast, so you'll never miss an episode.
Erica: Then follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. And you can find links to books, transcripts, guest info, what's turning us on, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com.
Kenrya: And don't forget to email us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com with your book recommendations and your pressing sex-and related questions.
Erica: And you can support the show by leaving us a five-star review, buying some merch or becoming a patron of the show. Just head to TheTurnOnPodcast.com to make that happen.
Kenrya: Thanks for listening and we'll see you soon. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.