Black Authors Network, welcome author Joy Turner to the family! She has a fantastic new book that we need to explore. She is proud to be a part of the JNF Enterprises. Enjoy!
Ella: Joy, tell us about your passion for writing and what your book offers the reader.
My intent was never to become an author, but rather used writing as another outlet for creative expression. In a sense it was therapy and healing for some emotional baggage that I had been carrying around for a long time. I never dreamed of being an author when I was a child, in fact I always thought I would be more involved in music. Music is definitely still a passion of mine but now writing is definitely something I will continue to do as well. I enjoy it and I am very pleased that my writing has inspired others.
Content… Right Where I Am is my very first published literary work and depicts my very own personal journey towards finding a source of contentment. For me, this involved a spiritual awakening and allowed me to tie in the things going on in the natural with the spiritual things of God that have allowed me to see things in a different light.
I also suffered from depression for all of my teenage years and most of my adult life. This alone served as breeding grounds for cultivating discontentment.
I share with my reader a very personal and painful isolated incident that occurred in my life causing major setbacks that spiraled into years of depression, turmoil and utter dissatisfaction with life.
The triumph in being able to find some light at the end of a dark and dismal tunnel is the hope that I wish to share with my readers.
It is my prayer that this book will not entertain but will minister, encourage, reach and touch many lives so that I won’t be the only one who can say “I’m content, right where I am”. In the book there are prayers, activities, opportunity for reflection as well as biblical references that I use as tools to reach my goal as not just an author but as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ella: Joy, finish this sentence: I am Powerful because…
I am Powerful because… I acknowledge my weaknesses. The irony in that is truly what encompasses the source of my strength. By my faith in God through Christ, I acknowledge that there is a source much greater and much more powerful than myself. I wouldn’t and couldn’t be powerful all by myself.
Ella: Albert Einstein stated, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” Was there ever a point in your career, when how your life didn’t match the theory? And how did you change the facts?
Absolutely. In fact although this book took every bit of 7 days to write (the main text), it took 5 years to become a published work. I struggled with the very key element of this book; contentment. Even now with things really getting busy since the launch of the book I have had to remind myself of the very words that I feed my readers.
There’s a saying that implies one should “practice what they preach” and I definitely need to be the first partaker of the “sermon” if you will. There was a point in time when I actually felt hypocritical because after I had completed a major portion of the book, I still struggled considerably with finding contentment and fulfillment in my life. Over time I have built a stronger relationship with God and I continue to develop myself in any and all areas that I feel led to improve upon. I have learned to accept my imperfections and basically I made a deliberate decision to think differently than in the past. I focus much more on the positive instead of accentuating the negative.
Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am from Baltimore City (East side to be exact but I now live in Anne Arundel County). I grew up in a very musical family. I began playing the piano when I was 4 and went on to sing, play other instruments and write songs. The only experience that I really ever had with writing per say was writing songs. I felt it (writing) was a creative outlet. I was so shy growing up and it helped me to express myself and still does. It was a very natural progression from here to now and it simply was a good fit for me to pursue writing.
Ella: What genre is your book? Tell us about it.
My book is a motivational/inspirational book so I really don’t have main characters so to speak, however I do give my reader a taste of my own personal life and testimony.
Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I’ve been told that the title as well as the cover (blue butterfly on the front) actually stand out and compel readers to pick it up. I’ve had people actually purchase the book simply based on the title. I believe my book will stand out because it comes from a very personal and intimate part of me that relates to so many others on many different levels. I think everyone wants to be content and I truly believe that this quest is not unattainable.
Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want people to be encouraged and to be content. I want people to be uplifted and not focus on the negative things that hinder progress. I want people to motion towards finding their own healing and deliverance. Everyone’s path is different but I definitely want to offer some encouragement. We’re going through some tough times in the world today but there is hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The sun may not shine every day but neither does it rain each and every day.
Ella: What is the one most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
How much work is involved AFTER the book is published! Writing the book is just the very beginning!
Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Getting the book published. I’ve tended to be a huge procrastinator in the past and I am just very happy to be able to say that I am now a published author. This is my first book so that is significant in and of it self. I did it through the strength and grace of God and with the support of my family, friends and a very wonderful network of business associates. My publisher has been a tremendous blessing by walking me through the process and giving me all of the knowledge required to become a published author. I did not choose to self publish this time but I have no regrets. I may choose to do so in the future but I am very pleased with the business relationship I developed with my publisher.
Ella: What advice would you give a new writer?
If you’re a writer, you need to write. As simple as it sounds, I am surprised at how many people tell me that they have this concept or idea for a book and when I ask them more about it they tell me that it isn’t finished or that they haven’t even began to write it down. It’s still in their head or in their heart.
I would advise any new writer to develop your craft, build your network and continue to write. Go to workshops, classes and other events that will help you get to where you need to be. There are tons of opportunities available to those who are willing to invest the time and energy. For anyone working with limited financial resources, there are plenty of inexpensive and creative ways to reach your goal as an author and/or entrepreneur.
The only thing I would change is that I would not have procrastinated for so long.
Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Only God can know it! More than likely I’d like to publish many more books, articles and other publications. I’m an editor and writer for my church’s newsletter ministry and I have actually considered launching my own magazine. I’d love to continue doing something in the music realm as well, perhaps writing songs for other aspiring artists. I’ve always been an entrepreneur so I’d like to expand my business and create new ways to serve my community, my family, my friends and supporters.