Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Warm Welcome to E. N. JOY

I'm excited to host Joy here today, and hope you enjoy reading her interview questions as much as I have. Now tell us, is there a story behind your book More Than I Can Bear? 
At the time I was writing More Than I Can Bear, I had no idea that upon its release we would be dealing with the whole prejudice and racism issues as a result of Donald Sterling’s privately recorded conversation that was released publicly in which he made some racial remarks. My book definitely touches on that subject matter, which makes it extremely current with what is going on in today’s news. I have a female character that pretty much mirrors Donald Sterling’s’ sentiments regarding minorities; but more so in a comedic way. When Archie Bunker said ‘it,’ we laughed. We looked at it as plain old ignorance. When it all boils down to it, sometimes that’s absolutely what it is-IGNORANCE. It’s not always a prejudice. It’s not always an act of racism. Sometimes we have to call it exactly what it is; IGNORANCE. 

Exactly. What started you on your writing journey? 
I have been writing since the days of elementary school journals and rainy day writings.  I started out just writing poems, then graduated to short stories.  My first self-published book, Please Tell Me If the Grass Is Greener, was a mixture of poetry and short stories.  Well, actually it’s poetic short stories; short stories told in a rhythmic flow.  Kind of like a Dr. Seuss book for Grown-ups-LOL.  I love La La Land.  Growing up, my escape from reality was the La La Land I invented with pen and paper.  So, I guess that is truly what drove me to pick up the pen for the first time and begin to take a genuine interest in writing.  It was an escape.  Some people use drugs, some people use alcohol, some people use sex to escape while other people might use guns.  I used a pen and the wonderful English vocabulary. I'd always been a reader, as that was another escape of mine. Ramona the Pest, Nancy Drew and those Little House on the Prairie books were my favorites. But then one day I got my hands on one of my auntie's grown up books, which was Black Girl Lost by Donald Goines.  It was the first book I'd ever read with main characters that looked like me. With characters that walked, talked and thought like me. I just remember sneaking the book out at night time and reading it while lying in bed. I was so deeply enthralled that I felt like I became that little girl who was lost. I  closed that book upon the final chapter and said to myself, "One day I'm going to write a book that does that to people." I think I've accomplished that.

What distracts you from writing the easiest? 
I’m easily distracted if there is clutter amongst me. It doesn’t even have to be within my view. If I just know there is clutter around me I can’t focus or concentrate. If I walked past a sink full of dishes an hour ago and know they are still sitting in the sink, I can’t sit down and write. The same goes for if there is a load of laundry that needs to be put away or lint on the carpet that needs to be swept. I can’t function until it’s complete, decent and in order. My atmosphere must represent what’s going on in my mind. I can’t operate under clutter…physically, literally or in the mind. Clutter blocks my creative flow. I can write a novel with my kids arguing, fussing and fighting in the background….as long as their rooms are clean (smile).

Groan. I hate distractions! What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!) 
As the acquisitions editor for Urban Christian, which is also the imprint I write for, I’m reading one to two novels a week in the Christian fiction genre, so of course those tend to be the books I gravitate to more. I love an escape just as much as the next person, but I love it even better when the escape is into a message God has waiting for me.

Novels with messages and certain today's-world-themes certainly resonate with me. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why? 
I’d have to say my main character, Paige, interested me the most. As a Christian woman, she continued to do the opposite of what a Christian is ‘supposed’ to do when the storm arrives, which is take shelter under God. Paige, instead, ran from God as fast as she could toward electric lines while lighting was striking. Did that make her any less of a Christian is what I wondered if my readers would think. Did it make her a so-called lukewarm Christian? Or did it just make her human?

If you were a style of music, what style would you be? 
I would be a mixture of Gospel Jazz with the Fresh Prince-Will Smith kind of hip-hop. Like Will Smith back in his days of rapping, I give readers a real life message without all the hardcore keepin’ it real cursing and explicitly.  I add a little humor as well to break up the monotony of some of the issues that may get quite heavy. All while there is this gentle message from God playing softly in the background-not necessarily words, but just a feeling that is ignited.

What is your favorite season of the year?  
My favorite season is winter. I know that here in the Midwest the weather is yucky, icy, snowy and cold, but I love it. Those are the months where I’m in the house being most creative because I don’t want to go out in that yucky, icy, snowy and cold weather. I get to sit in my home office and eat and write. I typically go up two dress sizes, but I love it and couldn’t care less. After all, I don’t come back out again and go on tour until the weather breaks. I’ve gotten rid of all my extra weight by then plus produced a dynamite read!

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up? 
Whenever I’m on book tour and I tell people where I’m from the first thing they say is, “Columbus, Ohio? What’s in Columbus, Ohio?” My reply is, “Absolutely nothing, which is why I love it.” Because nothing much goes on in Columbus- no professional basketball or football teams, no huge annual events that bring in tourist from around the map-I’m practically forced to go travel for that type of experience. When I’m somewhere other than my natural environment is when my creative juices really start to flow. I make it a point to research when I’m on trips outside of my city and state. As a fiction writer, I write what I know (which is what’s around me), I research what I don’t (places I travel to) and then I make up all the rest!

Lol. That's one way of looking at it. Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? 
Folding up the white clothes from laundry. I mean seriously, matching all those socks for my three little ones I have at home, my husband and myself. UHGH!!! And I’m not too keen on folding other people’s undergarments either. For some reason, folding and putting away white clothing is just so tedious. I’d rather be writing…or reading.

Ugh. Me, too. Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing? The I Ain’t Me No More, at the time of my travels to the Dominican. I was able to feed my character a slice of that humble pie. It made her more human and more likable. She was a character readers had started off disliking in an earlier book she appeared in titled She Who Finds a Husband. They ended up having great empathy for her in the end.
Dominican Republic was truly inspiring. My friends that I travel with, we have a saying that Punta Cana is for sissies. We deliberately booked our trip amongst the natives in Puerto Plata versus a tourist spot. We got more out of the culture by living with and being in the midst of the Dominicans and Haitians. We got to see firsthand and experience how the people of that country live from day to day. It truly humbled me as a person. I was working on my book,

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 
The next book in my series releases February 2015. It’s titled You Get What You Pray For. The main character, Lorain, has been a prisoner of secrets almost all of her life. Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like a strategic game of chess, and is now living the lavish fairytale life of a doctor’s wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled from under Lorain by the woman who raised her abandoned child, all Lorain prays for is that everything will end well. In this cycle of lies, secrets, shame, and guilt, will Lorain get what she prays for?

In hindsight, I should have titled it You Get What You Prey For because everyone in this book has a hidden agenda and is out for self…no matter whom or what they have to trample on along the path.

Sounds great!

To buy her book, go here:

Barnes & Noble

About Joy:
BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming “Forever Divas” series, which have been coined  “Soap Operas In Print.” Formerly writing secular works under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY, this award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio and cities across the country as well as instructing literary workshops.

Joy writes children’s and young adult titles under the name N. Joy.  Her children’s story, The Secret Olivia Told Me, received the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor.  Book club rights were acquired by Scholastic Books and the book has sold almost 100,000 copies.

 Currently, Joy is the acquisitions editor for Urban Christian, an imprint of Urban Books in which the titles are distributed by Kensington Publishing Corporation.  In addition, Joy is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls.  Joy pens original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying.

Connect with her here:



Instagram: blessedselling_author_enjoy

Website: www.enjoywrites.com

Joy is giving away a copy of More Than I Can Bear. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Nadine Keels said...

God playing softly in the background, not being limited to words. I know how that is! nadine(dot)keels(at)gmail(dot)com

Patricia Bradley said...

Thank you for introducing me to Joy! Her books sound like wonderful reads. I'd love to win a copy of More Than I Can Bear. pat at ptbradley dot com

Charity Lyman said...

This sounds like a beautiful book. Please enter me. Thanks!!

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