In my fuzzy neighborhood today is BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy and writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the three book series, “Still Divas,” the three book series, “Always Divas,” and the three book series, “Forever Divas,” which have been coined “Soap Operas in Print.” She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY. An All Night Man, an anthology she wrote with New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Jackson, earned the Borders bestselling African American romance award. And her Urban Fiction title, Dollar Bill (Triple Crown Publication), appeared in Newsweek and has been translated to Japanese.
After thirteen years of being a paralegal in the insurance industry, E. N. Joy divorced her career and married her mistress and her passion; writing. In 2000, she formed her own publishing company where she published her books until landing a book deal with a major publisher. This award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio as well as cities across the country.
Her 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 E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide.
E. N. Joy was the acquisitions editor for the Urban Christian imprint for ten years. In addition, she is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. She pens original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying
Let’s get to know a little bit more about Author E. N. Joy
FF: Can you tell us four words that describe your writing style?
ENJ: Soap Operas in Print
FF: Do you have a writing process? If yes, briefly explain.
ENJ: I have a ghostwriter; the Holy Ghost. So typically I’ll just go sit down in front of my computer and begin taking dictation. As a very creative person, I like to work on a schedule, I like to be organized, and I like for both my mind and working environment to be clutter free. Clutter blocks my creativity; it slows the flow. Clutter stifles my creative thoughts and the process itself. But can I work in a junkyard if need be? Absolutely!
As a creative person, life happens, so I’m always prepared to write anywhere, under any circumstance and condition. But my preference is for those circumstances and conditions to be conducive to what allows me to be most creative.
I’ve missed my flight before and wrote chapters of a book in the airport. I’ve even written content while stuck in standstill traffic. I’ll often send myself a voicemail message in my character’s voice of what they want to say or do. Trust and believe that I can and will get my story out by any means necessary, but I prefer a space where it’s just me, myself, my characters, and my ghostwriter.
FF: Why do you write books?
ENJ: I always say that the greatest “Ah Ha!” moment a person could ever have is when their life begins to make sense. At first I used to write books to become a famous author, but now I write books to make God famous. My life began to make sense when I realized not only why I write books, but why God wanted me to write books. Writing the books is a ministry. Selling the books is a business. My ministry is delivering God’s message through the written word in the form of literary entertainment in order to point the world in the direction of the Kingdom. So I went from focusing on being a bestselling author to being a BLESSEDselling author. I went from focusing on one million copies sold to one million souls saved. I went from focusing on selling out of books after every literary event to my readers being sold out on Christ after reading every book. That is why I write.
FF: What genre do you write in? Which genre is your favorite?
ENJ: When I first started writing I wrote poetry, women’s fiction, and erotica under the name Joylynn M. Jossel. I wrote street lit under the name JOY. I now write Christian fiction under the name E. N. Joy (The ‘E’ stands for Everybody and the ‘N’ stands for Needs), and I write children’s and middle grade books under the name N. Joy. I’ve dabbled in some romantic short stories and I’m having an absolute ball with those, but I must say that my favorite is Christian fiction. I absolutely love how God uses me to deliver messages to His people. Keep in mind, the message is always for the messenger first, so I get double-blessed!
FF: Describe your ideal place of escape to write your books.
ENJ: The Caribbean is both where I am inspired to write and can spin amazing tales. Give me a nice breeze on the balcony or some sand between my toes and my mind goes to unimaginable places. The sound of the ocean water lapping up against rocks or rolling back from the shore talks to me.
I put the final touches on my book, I Ain’t Me No More, while in the Dominican Republic. I wrote some amazing chapters for You Get What You Pray For while in St. Martin. My family vacation this year will be in the Bahamas (one of the few places that mosquito disease hasn’t struck), so I can’t wait to see what written words will manifest while there. Yes, my family hates when I work on vacation, but ask any author/editor and they will tell you that those manuscripts have a powerful pull. Plus, when you love what you do, you don’t have to take a vacation from your work; you take your work on vacation.
FF: Tell us about your current book.
ENJ: I have two books that just released. One is part of my romantic shorts and it’s titled The Miserable Wives Club. The Miserable Wives Club is one that the members don’t want anyone to know they belong to . . . especially their husbands!
My latest full-length novel is One Sunday at a Time and it’s book two in my “Forever Divas” series. In this 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?
FF: What is your favorite thing to do before a book signing?
ENJ: My favorite thing to do before a book signing is to make sure I have my pack of Red Vines on hand. Twizzlers will serve as a backup if I can’t get my hands on the vines.
FF: What city would you love to have a book signing or speaking engagement?
ENJ: New York! I haven’t had a book signing in New York since the Harlem Book Festival back in 2000. Although the majority of my readers are in the South, I have a pretty nice following in the Big Apple as well. I try to turn my out of town book events into a family vacation as well, so my family, along with some readers, is urging me to hit New York here in the near future.
FF: What is your favorite drink or beverage?
ENJ: I’m crazy about Dr. Pepper. Out of all the diet sodas, Dr. Pepper is the one that tastes the most like the original mix. But if I’m not on my Weight Watchers kick, I go for regular ole Dr. P! I only buy soda for my home about three times a year. If I kept it on hand, I’d drink it every day. I’d rather my fat grams come from something like brownies rather than in liquid form.
FF: Are you an early bird or night owl?
ENJ: I’m both an early bird and a night owl. Sleep is overrated. I’ve got stories to write!!!!! My characters couldn’t care less what time of day or night it is. When they have something to say, they expect me to give power to their voice regardless of the time. Of course that power is in the pen. I do some of my best work at the wee hours in the morning or in the middle of the night, both occasions when the house is pretty much silent and the voices of my characters reign.
FF: If you could collaborate on a book with any author, who would it be and why?
ENJ: I’ve already collaborated with my favorite author in the universe, Brenda Jackson. Back when I wrote secular books we did a book together titled An All Night Man. It earned the Borders Bestselling African American Romance Award. I’m now collaborating with Nikita Lynnette Nichols on our “Angel” series project. Book 1 is titled She’s No Angel.
FF: What is one tip you would give authors on how to show appreciation for their readers?
ENJ: Acknowledge them. Is it really that hard to take five minutes out of your schedule to like a post or to wish them a happy birthday? Reader appreciation is why I love and admire Brenda Jackson so much. She mastered that early on in her career. I want my readers to form a connection with the characters I write about, but I want my readers to form a relationship with me. That’s why even though I love social media, I still have my good old fashion email address book that I use to send my readers a more personal newsletter. I also see to it that at least two or three times a year I make a physical appearance in order to connect personally with my readers and not just virtually online. Nothing will ever take the place of face-to-face networking and interaction.
FF: What advice would you give your younger self?
ENJ: “Tomorrow your older self will have to live with the consequences of the choices you make today, so be wise and have peace with every decision made.”
FF: What is one thing you would change about your life?
ENJ: I would change the fact that I stayed in an abusive relationship for seven years. I hated myself while in that relationship. I hated everyone around me, and therefore those closest to me. My firstborn son, being one of them, got the brunt of my hate and anger. When I wrote the story about my past in my book, I Ain’t Me No More, it was a form of deliverance.
FF: What is your motto for life and career?
ENJ: There is a big difference between doing the best that you can do and doing all that you can do. Do all that you can do to achieve great success in both your family life and career, calculated with your own measuring cup and weighed on your own scale.
FF: What is your favorite scripture or quote?
ENJ: “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus…the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love” Acts 20:24 (NIV).
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