I am BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy, the author behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas” and “Forever Divas” series, all which have been coined “Soap Operas in Print.” I am an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY. My title, If I Ruled the World, earned a book blurb from Grammy Award Winning Artist, Erykah Badu. An All Night Man, an anthology I penned with New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Jackson, earned the Borders bestselling African American romance award. My Urban Fiction title, Dollar Bill (Triple Crown Publications), appeared in Newsweek and has been translated to Japanese.
After thirteen years of being a paralegal in the insurance industry, I divorced my career and married my mistress and passion; writing. In 2000, I formed my own publishing company where I published my books until landing a book deal with St. Martin’s Press. I’m an award winning author who has been sharing my literary expertise on conference panels in my home town of Columbus, Ohio as well as cities across the country. I also conduct publishing/writing workshops for aspiring writers.
My children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops I instruct in schools nationwide.
In addition, I am the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. I pen original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying.
After being the first content development editor for Triple Crown Publications and ten years as the acquisitions editor for Carl Weber’s Urban Christian imprint, I now do freelance editing, ghostwriting, write-behinds and literary consulting. My clients have included New York Times Bestselling authors, entertainers, aspiring authors, as well as first-time authors. Some notable literary consulting clients include actor Christian Keyes, singer Olivia Longott and Reality Television star Shereé M. Whitfield.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I don’t find time to connect with God; I make the time. Connecting with God, for me, is something that comes natural. I call upon God for things as small as what to cook for dinner. In addition to prayer, I connect with God through my writing. Sometimes my writing alone is my prayer.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
My favorite author is Brenda Jackson. I truly admire how she has connected with and formed a relationship with her readers. Any author out there who wants to know what reader appreciation looks like should follow her blueprint. I know I am. I’ve created the hashtag: #readersarethebossofme
My favorite book is 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.”
Tell us about your journey to publication.
After thirteen years of being a paralegal, I finally divorced my career and married my mistress and my passion; writing. I self-published my first book back in 1998 and my second a year or so later. My third self-published book eventually got picked up by a major publisher. What was so crazy about that was that the first publisher to ever send me a rejection letter was the same publisher who ultimately gave me my first book deal.
In my latest soap opera in print, the main character, Deborah, asks herself, “What does crazy look like?” Let Deborah tell it, it’s the reflection that looks back at her in the mirror. She has a career she loves, two beautiful children and a handsome and successful husband. Her life seems to be the blueprint almost every woman she knows would kill to live. But working full-time, being a full-time mother, full-time wife and a full-time Sunday only Christian seems to be taking its toll on her. With all the scheming and shenanigans Deborah orchestrated to get this lifestyle, she might have to come up with a whole set of new ones to maintain it.
Lynox is Deborah’s husband who she thanks God for putting back into her life after a game of cat and mouse that defies the laws of romance. He feels that all Deborah needs is to let her hair down, maybe make some new friends and live a little. When Deborah agrees and then suspects Lynox of having an affair with the woman that he suggested she form a friendship with, will he live to regret his own advice?
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
I began to pen One Sunday at a Time after looking at myself in the mirror one day and asking the very same question I have my character ask: “What does crazy look like?” I honestly thought crazy looked like me. If I felt this way, I could only imagine how many other women wearing multiple hats—being mother, wife, working and trying to stay saved—might have felt. I wanted them to know that they were not alone, because it was the moment of feeling alone that could have taken me down a destructive road; the same one it took my main character, Deborah, down.
What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?
I want all the women out there who feel like they have so much going on in their life that they are about to lose control, to walk away from this book knowing that to lose control is a good thing…When you plan on letting God take control.
What’s next for you?
Just this year I started something titled the “Everybody Needs Joy Shorts Series.” They are quick, romantic, humorous, quirky, reconnect-with-your-happy reads that will make your soul smile. So far I’ve penned Let’s Do Summer and The Miserable Wives Club. They are currently in eBook only, but once I’ve penned a few more, I’m going to combine them into one anthology and put them in print.
In the meantime, the final book in my “Divas” series will be released November 2016. It’s titled Lady of the House. Since my readers, who initially coined my series as “soap operas in print” are now starting to call them “reality shows in print,” I figured why not give them a book in which the characters are actually on a reality show. This book is an absolute hoot and I can’t wait to see how readers receive a female pastor going on a dating reality show to find a husband.
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