My most recent book is book four of a five book series (The “New Day Divas” Series). It’s titled Trying to Stay Saved (April 26, 2011). This series has been coined “The Soap Opera In Print,” so Trying to Stay Saved basically picks up where the last scene ended in book four. The leading ladies, or should I say divas, are back at trying to resolve their problems. Their issues deal with life and love after divorce, dealing, healing and even acknowledging abuse, adoption, abandonment, weight loss and gain as well as just trying to keep relationships and friendships together. And although the leading characters are active Christians and active in the church, for some reason they choose to try to solve their problems without the likes of God.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m born raised and still planted in Columbus, Ohio. 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 publishing house. What was so crazy about that was that the first publisher to ever send me a rejection letter was the same publisher who gave me my first book deal.
What inspired you to write this book?
The New Day Divas series was incited by my publisher, New York Times Best-selling Author Carl Weber, but birthed by the Holy Spirit. God used Mr. Weber to pitch the idea to me; sort of plant the seed in my spirit, of which I prayed on and eventually the seed was watered and grew into a phenomenal five book series that I hope will touch readers across the world. My goal and prayer with the “New Day Divas” series is to put an end to the Church Fiction versus Christian Fiction dilemma and find a divine medium that pleases both God and the readers.
How did you choose the title?
I actually chose all the titles before I even began writing the series. For me, it’s easier to write around a title than to try to pick out a title after I’ve done all the writing.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I would love to say that I had no obstacles. Seeming I’m the acquisition editor for the imprint I write for, one would think it was all a breeze. NOT! After deciding to go with hand drawn characters versus photo stock, I was told that the rep for one of our largest buyers disliked the idea and said they wouldn’t be placing an order. She wasn’t just bluffing either. I ended up having the smallest first print run in the history of our line. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I received my author copies of the first book in the series, She Who Finds A Husband (Feb 2010). As I’m reading the first chapter I realize the last few paragraphs of the chapter are missing and the book goes straight into the next chapter. Horrified, I flipped through the book only to discover that this same thing happened in two more instances in the book. The publisher immediately put out a recall, but very few retailers returned the book, libraries included. I’d never been so grateful that the first print run had been so small. Luckily, by the second print run all errors were fixed and the book (even with its errors) had gotten such a buzz, that buyer who initially refused to place an order ended up placing the book in their stores across the country.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Okay, this is where I get in trouble. When I get a story idea, I just like to sit down and go for it. I haven’t the time to go back and forth and play the name game. Getting stuck on names can cause a writer’s creative flow of juices come to a halt. I never want to risk that. I’m too geeked about getting into the juicy storylines and plot. So I do what lots of writers do, which is use a friend or family member’s name with the intent of going back and changing the names. Only I almost never go back and change the names because by the time I finish writing the book, the character has grown into and fits the name. So of course everybody ends up thinking the characters are based on my real friends and family.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently? If I were going to do this entire writing thing over again, the number one thing I would do differently is to form an audience for the book long before I ever even pen the book. There is absolutely nothing like having a fan base and readership sitting on the edge of their seats just waiting for you to release your masterpiece. Talk about a decent first print run…
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it? I am working on my next project, which is titled the “Street Preacher” Ebook series. At least the first three volumes are going to be in ebook only. Eventually I may group the stories into three and turn it into print. I call each installment an Urban Tract. It’s almost like the Penny Dreadfuls back in the eighteenth century when working class folks couldn’t afford to pay the twelve cents for a full novel, so they purchased it in pieces for only a penny. My “Street Preacher” series is a modern day Penny Dreadful, with volume one of the series titled Ordained By the Streets.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Like I mentioned before, work hard to gain exposure and an audience for your product before you ever even have the actual product. Let the potential readers feel as though they are the doctors and the nurses in the delivery room so that once the baby is finally born, they can’t wait to dote over it and tell everybody about it as if it were their own. Blogging and social network updates is a wonderful way to do this.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers can visit my website at www.enjoywrites.com. And of course I’m all over the web in various social networks such as Facebook (Author E. N. Joy as well as Joylynn Jossel). If readers haven’t been keepin’ up with the divas, they can pick up book one of the series on amazon at the following link: She Who Finds A Husband (New Day Divas)