Joylynn M. Ross now writing as
BLESSEDselling Author E.N. Joy (Everybody Needs Joy)
BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the writer behind the five book series, “New Day Divas,” the three book series, “Still Divas,” the three book series, “Always Divas,” and the forthcoming 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.
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.
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.
Did I Choose or Was I Chosen?
By E. N. Joy
There are Christian fiction writers and then there are Christians who write fiction. There is Christian fiction, then there is what some consider to be church fiction or church drama. You have some authors who didn’t necessarily set out to write Christian fiction, but they were placed in that category by either their publisher, or the book stores simply shelved them that way. And of course you have the writers whose work is categorized as Christian fiction but they do not write for a Christian fiction imprint, which means they are not necessarily writing with any type of guidelines. I can’t speak for any other Christian fiction author or author who either chose or by default was placed in the Christian fiction genre, but I am a Christian fiction writer who writes for a Christian fiction imprint. That is my choice on purpose. I’ll be the first to admit that, yes, I have a ghostwriter; the Holy Ghost! I take dictation from the Holy Spirit when I write my stories. My Holy Spirit does not cuss nor does He describe explicit sex scenes for me to deliver to God’s people. I write Christian fiction, not inspirational fiction, not faith based fiction or anything else. Christ is in what I do; “CHRISTian” fiction. I’m not solely concerned with keepin’ it real as much as I am keepin’ it holy. The Bible is as real as it gets and if the Holy Spirit didn’t instruct the authors of the Bible to cuss people out and describe explicit sex scenes, then I’m okay with Him not choosing me to do it either. I believe that in my writing I have managed to both “keep it real” (as the world would say) while keepin’ it holy (for the kingdom). My ultimate goal is, yes, to please the readers, but I must first please God. I believe with everything in my heart that God will get my book into the hands of those He intended to receive it…With my hard work and obedience of course. I urge every author to be obedient to what their own assignment is and the instructions as to how they are to complete it. Do books with cussing, sex or even things that some Christians might find offensive to the Word of God minister to people’s heart, spirit and soul? Absolutely. To this day the book I get the most feedback on from readers as to how it changed and/or saved their lives is from my secular book titled If I Ruled the World. So with that being said, who am I to say who and what God will and won’t use to deliver His children a message? Sometimes other authors get offensive when I say I don’t use cussing and sex in my books. They begin justifying why they do. It shouldn’t provoke a person to go into defense mode just because I’m following specific instructions. Some even get mad at me. All I do is shake my head and say to myself, “Don’t get mad at me, get mad at the Holy Spirit, because it sure ain’t me who is making you feel convicted or some sort of way. I don’t have that kind of power.” Real writers, on the other hand, are totally unaffected. Real writers write what they want no matter what anyone says or what other writers are writing. My writing style and who I am as an author is personal for me. Never do I try to push my style of writing on anyone else. I ultimately turned my pen away from writing street lit, erotica and women’s lit filled with sexual tension and expletives in order to serve God with my talent. God has always been there keeping, watching over and protecting me, but it wasn’t until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior did I acknowledge and understand just how much God loves me. Now I live to glorify Him in everything I do, including my writing. So I’m not only proud to be a Christian, but proud to be a Christian who writes Christian fiction. In writing in the Christian fiction genre, I try very hard to keep my mind clear; to make sure I’m in tune with the Holy Spirit when I’m writing. But I’m going to tell the truth and shame the devil; I’m human, so just like in everyday life, when it comes to my writing, I do sometimes allow my flesh to rise up and do its own thing. I have written things that I thought the reader might want to read without consulting the true author. Do I get convicted for it? Yes, via readers’ emails and reviews…And some of them, unlike God, have no mercy. So I try my best to stick to ghostwriting…Holy Ghost writing that is. When I dedicated my life to Christ, a great deal of things changed for me and in me. I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do. I couldn’t say some of the things I used to say and I couldn’t go some of the places I used to go. Well, I soon found that I couldn’t write some of the things I used to write. That’s what prompted the change in the genres I chose to write in. Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY the authors are retired for good. Are the Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY books still available? Yes, they are. They can still be found and ordered in bookstores and are in pretty much every online book store. My die-hard fans can even still find Joylynn at www.joylynnjossel.com. That’s part of my testimony, my history and foundation as an author. But for readers who want to know what flows through my spirit today can find me at www.enjoywrites.com. Let me close by saying that once upon a time my goal was to write what readers wanted to read and become a famous author through my writings. But now I know that my purpose is to make God famous through my writings, not myself. Author Interview :
1) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you?
That I live breathe, eat and sleep (well, not much sleep) this literary thing. It’s real. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something I do on the side. It’s my life. I take it serious. It’s my craft, my career, my first love and now it’s my ministry. With that being said, readers need to know that when I put something out for them, I’m truly giving them my all. And if I fall short of their expectations, I’ll do everything I can to try to do a better job next time in order to earn and keep their readership.
2) 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).
3) What do you do for relaxation?
For relaxation I read; go figure. Hey, for an author, any type of reading is called homework. That’s just one way of studying the craft. I also belong to a breakfast club in which a group of us ladies get together every month and take turns hosting breakfast. You should see us going on YouTube and looking up recipes trying to outdo each other. Every other year we go out of the country and sample breakfast foods from other cultures, and of course enjoy the beaches and sunsets. Every single year without missing a beat I go on a family vacation with my husband and children. Just spending time with them always give me amazing joy.
4) How did you become a writer?
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 just remember closing that book upon the final chapter and saying to myself, “One day I’m going to write a book that does that to people.” I think I’ve accomplished that.
5) If you could interview one of your favorite authors, who would it be? Why?
Everyone who knows me knows that Brenda Jackson is my idol. I virtually stalk her. I sign up for her newsletters. I friended her on Facebook. I like her fan page. Whatever she is doing, I want to know about. Now, the great thing about this is that I don’t have to interview her. Over the years, just by watching her—just being quiet and sitting back watching everything she does—I’ve learned an abundance of PRICELESS information. See, we don’t always have to inbox or send emails to folks and ask them a string of questions. We can learn far more by being quiet—watching and listening—than we ever could with a list of ten questions or a thirty minute Internet radio interview. In any field a person might want to go into, I always suggest they find that person who is doing what they want to do and who is successful at doing it. They should study that person and follow their blueprint; not to become that person, but to become better than that person. We have to always be mindful to raise the bar.
Lorain has been a prisoner of her secrets for almost her entire life. At the age of thirteen, she managed to keep her pregnancy a secret, discarding the infant and leaving it for dead. Years later, Lorain’s mother finally met the love of her life, and Lorain couldn’t find the courage to tell her mother that her new beau was the man who molested Lorain and impregnated her. Now, to complicate matters, Lorain discovers that the baby she abandoned all those years ago survived, and God has placed Lorain in her now adult child’s life. It seems like the legacy of secrets has been passed on, too, as Lorain helps her daughter conceal the true details behind one of her own pregnancies.
Lorain has managed to maneuver the secrets and lies like pieces in a strategic game of chess and is now living the lavish, fairy-tale life of a doctor’s wife. But even that is a lie. With the rug about to be pulled out 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?
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It ain’t easy being saved, sanctified, and single. Try being a once divorced, now widowed single mother of two on top of that. Thank God the Lord built Paige Vanderdale to be able to bear all of those titles without becoming weary to the point of giving up. From the outside looking in, that life looks good on her. On the inside, though, Paige is coveting what so many others around her seem to have, which is true love.
In the past, everything that she thought was love was either something far from it, or was taken away from her. Now Paige is afraid to let her hair down and open herself up to love again.
Paige struggles with the decision to reach out to an old flame to rekindle their spark. When the blaze gets too high, will Paige do what she always does, which is grab the nearest fire extinguisher and try to put it out? Or will she utilize her backup plan and run? The decision is abruptly removed from Paige’s hands when something else begins to pull her away–something that just might be the thing that finally breaks her.
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