Monday, October 14, 2013

An Intimate Conversation with Author E.N. Joy of I Ain't Me No More

I read I Ain't Me No More in one day. It reminds me of another epic novel, The Coldest Winter Ever--Christian style. E.N. Joy introduces to a character's testimony that's real, raw and gritty. We feel Helen's triumph as she confronts fellow believers who were ready to throw stones. I loved every minute of it. Frankly, it's one of the Best books I've read in a long time.

About the Book
Helen wasn't just born the devious vixen of New Day Temple of Faith. There had to be something rooted deep within her to make her inflict and feed off of other people's pain.  Perhaps it was her own pain that she had suppressed for so many years-an unimaginable pain-that created an internal prison of which her mind was the only captive.  But once the demons within her break free, those around her better beware, as Helen surely becomes the epitome of the saying, "Hurt people, hurt people."

In I Ain't Me No More, Helen has no shame displaying that she hasn't been saved all her life.  Will the divas of New Day Temple of Faith think Helen's worth saving? But more importantly, can God save Helen from not only her evil past; can He save her from herself?

An Intimate Conversation with Author E.N. Joy

Introduce readers to your book.  
I Ain't Me No More is book one of my three book "Always Divas" series. The main character, Helen, is not only the newest member of the New Day Temple of Faith Singles Ministry, but she quickly becomes the vixen with all her evil ways and tactics. Helen is not one of those church folk the members love to hate. They just out right hate her! But is there something more to Helen than the hard, nasty exterior she puts up? Lord knows she hasn't been saved all her life, but was she born evil? Why else would someone set out to intentionally inject turmoil into the lives around her? Well, the women at New Day don't know and most don't care. They believe the antidote to this snake's venom is to throw her out the church on her behind. But when Helen decides to let these New Day divas in on her past skeletons, will that change their minds? With the compassion and wisdom of church mother, Mother Doreen, indeed one of my favorite New Day characters, the women just might find that Helen is worth saving. Question is, though; Does Helen want to be saved? Helen is special because she is flawed to the point where you want to close your eyes and say a prayer for her your own self. That's just how realistic this character and her life situations are. Either you know Helen or, which might be even scarier, you are Helen. More power to you if you were Helen but overcame your own self and ways and aren't you any more (the old you;-). While readers are raising eyebrows and shedding tears for some of Helen's choices in life, they are at the same time yearning for her to just get it. Readers will ultimately want Helen to win at this challenge called life. Mother Doreen is a character from my book, The Perfect Christian, who I allow to make a cameo in Helen's story. Mother Doreen is just that, the elder-the church mother-who always seems to say the perfect thing or do the perfect thing to get and keep things in order. Of course once you read The Perfect Christian you realize that with Mother Doreen, in her older years you see all her glory, but go back a few chapters in her life and my God does she have a story!

How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or other life path? 
I can honestly say that  the main character, Helen's story, is about sixty percent of who I was. Hence the title: I Ain't Me No More. As I look back on the life of Helen, I catch myself cringing, but then rejoicing at the same time. Because just like Helen, in my present situation I might not be where I want to be in life and in my walk with Christ, but I sure ain't where I used to be, and to God be the glory for that one! If Jesus had not saved me from my own self, I fear what damage I could have done to those around me. In past  years I was a prime example of how hurt people hurt people. I was mad at the world when all the while the only person I should have been mad at was myself-for wasting time on being mad. My misery fed off company. So if you came around me and you weren't already miserable-give me an hour tops and you'd be right there in the valley with me. I can say this now and confess it because-you guessed it-I Ain't Me No More. Not only that, but I can confess it because now I don't have a choice-it's all out there in this stone unturned. Because the book mirrored my life so much (another Hence: the mirror on the cover;-) one might think it was pretty easy to write this book. I mean, after all, it was my story. It should have flowed easily. That was not the case. I started writing this book five years ago. It was very difficult because my flesh kept rearing its ugly head. My flesh wanted to get out all of its hurt, pain, guilt, shame and 'woe is me' crap; you know, a three hundred page pity party that would hopefully make people feel sorry for me (Oops, I mean feel sorry for Helen). All the while God was trying to pull out a testimony, not garner sympathy. The flesh versus spiritual battle was very draining, but in the end I know beyond a doubt that what was achieved was a valid, entertaining, heart wrenching, moving and real story that will become a Divas classic. 

What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in I Ain't Me No More? 
When I started this book five years ago, at the time, I was so displeased with who I was. The problem was, I didn't want to admit who I was, which was an angry, hurt and bitter person who had internalized and held onto those things, circumstances and situations that had made me that way. Doing so gave me an excuse to be mad. If I held onto what so and so did to me umpteen years ago, it justified the way I could treat so and so today. You can't quit it if you can't admit it. So I had to take a for real-for real look at myself in the mirror, tell that reflection staring back at me just what I thought about her, and once I turned away from that mirror, make a conscious decision to leave her behind. I declared that I would do everything in my power to not be that person anymore...because she was disgusting and I hated her. If you go through life hating who you are, displaying love to others (heck, even like for that matter) is next to impossible. I had dealt with so much hurt and pain in my life that it ultimately became my normal. So if you wanted to fit into my normal world, you had to bring the hurt, bring the pain. When I got into church and got saved, I thought I was fixed. I was still broken though. It takes more work than just showing up at church every week and running down to the altar for someone to touch and agree with you or lay hands on you to get fixed. The main character in I Ain't Me No More, Helen, is mad, bitter and angry at the hand she was dealt in life. Her problem; does she want to be fixed or is she so comfortable with pain that she wouldn't know how to live without it? Plain and simple: Helen is not that likeable. As a matter of fact, the last book I wrote, The Sunday Only Christian, the main character in that one wasn't so likeable either. So as God kept giving me these unlikable people as main characters, I got scared. As an author there was a fear that if readers didn't like my main character, then they wouldn't like my book. So during prayer I expressed to God my concerns. His reply: "This book is not for people to like the main character. This book is for people like the main character."

Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
I went to school for legal assisting and was a paralegal for thirteen years. Not many of my books deal with the legal system, but as far as my faith, my being a Christian, it inspires every word I write. Because I am a Christian who writes Christian fiction for a Christian fiction imprint (Urban Christian), my books absolutely must have Christ in them. My walk with Christ has not been easy. I did not dedicate my life to Christ one Sunday morning and then all my problems went away. It just so happens that I was my biggest problem, and since I wasn't going anywhere, I had to begin to deal with myself. This goes for most of my characters I write about as well. Some of them just can't seem to get out of their own way, let go of their issues and past and let God. And just like in real life, some of the characters get it after getting it wrong so many times. Then there are those who just never seem to get it. The latter characters, like some real folks, end up going through life thinking it's a battle of them against the world, never realizing that they are their own worse enemy...and sometimes their only enemy.
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Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases. How may our readers follow you online? I'm most excited about my October 2013 release, I Ain't Me No More, which is book one of the "Always Divas" series. I'm already putting the finishing touches on book two of the series, which is titled More Than I Can Bear, and that releases May 2014.  I would love for readers to visit  I can be reached out to via email at I'm on twitter @enjoywrites, in instagram as blessedselling_author_enjoy and on Facebook as Author E N Joy. And for those who want to keep up with the divas, there is a New Day Divas Fan Page on Facebook as well.
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Website: www.enjoywrites.con