Our interview today is with Joy DeKok. Thank you Joy for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: I used to write full-time, but life changed and I am adapting. I work for my husband two days a week and stay with my mom two days a week – she has dementia and I have to tell you, being with her these days is such a privilege. I’m also a social media manager (my small business) and I do client work early in the morning and while I’m with Mom. It all works. At first I felt overwhelmed, but prayed and asked friends to pray for me. As always, God replaced the panic with peace. I get beautiful inspiration from Mom, whose love is so pure and her worship innocent. I love going to church – to be surrounded by other believers prepares me for the coming week. Time with family and friends fills up our weekends and I love that about our life.
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: We live on 35 acres of woods and fields. This is where I enjoy my favorite hobby: photography. In those moments, writer’s block is banished as poems flood my soul and the spot in my novel that wasn’t working is suddenly clarified.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I do use beta readers, hire a professional editor, and normally hire my covers done professionally as well.
Question: Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?
Answer: I love social media. It’s fast, allows people to look when they want to, and although it’s sometimes seen as less personal, I’m finding the opposite is true. It’s fun building online relationships with readers and other writers. When I started I found Facebook was fun and easy. Twitter scared me – it felt so fast – sort of hit and run. Then, I took another look. Now, it’s a blast to stop out there a couple of times a day and see what’s up – who I can retweet, or direct message. The Internet and social media sites transforms the world into a neighborhood.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: My new book is almost finished and I don’t have the title. It’s this way with every book. Then, it happens. After the editing, a couple of days of prayer, it comes. Olivia Morgan was on her way to an event she was sure would set her future. Instead there’s a dead guy in the elevator, she gets dumped, and is suspected in three murders. Is she innocent? Or is the one from the past a problem rising up to get her?
Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: My husband is the one who has influenced me the most. He believe in my talent as a writer and my success long before I could even imagine it. We were living through a terribly difficult time financially when he encouraged me to quit my job and write. To give life to his words, he somehow bought me a desk and word processor (a really early one) and had them delivered to our home. I decided to write based on his confidence and not on my own. It still sort of works that way.
Question: Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.
Answer: Kids jokes – I love the way kids tell jokes expecting your laughter. Their innocence and the silliness of it all delights me.
Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
Answer: Although I find my mom’s dementia terribly painful, I am also finding it beautiful as well. I spend 10 to 15 hours a week with her. We listen to music which is powerful even on her worst days – something powerful happens when she hears her favorites. When we listen to her favorite hymns, we have church. She also loves the old movies and we watch our favorites over and over. But, it’s when she remembers my name or tells me over and over how much she loves me. She does that on the days she knows what’s wrong – she tells me more than once so that on those days I have a spare I love you. I miss the whole her, but I wouldn’t miss this time in her life for anything.
Question: What are your future projects?
Answer: I have two books in my near future. My current novel is book one in a series of three. Plus, after writing some blogs and Facebook updates about my mom, several people have asked me to write about our journey into and in the middle of dementia.
Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?
Answer: In my first novel, Rain Dance, one of the character’s live is based on mine. The other main character (it’s written in dual first person) is a combination of many women I’ve known who have chosen abortions. The new novel is very different from anything I’ve ever done – it’s an adventure I’m loving.
Joy DeKok has several books in publication, including her novel Rain Dance, a non-fiction guide on writing your stories titled, Your Life a Legacy – Explore & Record the Times of Your LIfe, and Under His Wings, a devotional for bird watchers.
Joy and her husband of 36 years, Jon live on 35 acres of woods and fields. Joy loves riding their John Deere Gator with their dogs, Sophie and Tucker with her camera nearby. She also enjoys Bible study, time with family and friends, writing, reading, and walking.
A couple of reviews from Amazon:
I was completely surprised by all the deep elements in this book. It was such a good read. I had planned to read it for the next couple of weeks and I finished it in a day!
Best book I’ve read in a long time. This is a must have book! Give it a try you won’t be sorry!!
You can connect with Joy on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+. Her websites are:
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I loved Joy’s Rain Dance, and I’m sure others will, too. Wonderful interview. Enjoyed learning more about you, Joy. I love snapping outdoor pictures, too, but I’m no professional. Blessing for success on your books. BJ
Thank you, B. J. I love preserving the moments of beauty I find a long the way – I’m not a professional, but in the long MN winters, pics of spring, summer, and fall help. 🙂
Joy is always inspiring. I’ve loved having her as my blog guest and helping to promote her books. God bless you, Joy!
Thank you, Ada. Your gentleness touches me deeply.
Joy, Your comments about your time with your mother brought back some wonderful memories for me. My mother did not have dementia, but died suddenly 14 years ago. She did have some signs of aging (some forgetfulness and “slowing down”). Somehow the Lord must have been preparing me because we had a lot of precious times together in the last two years of her life. Your sweet and poignant description of your time with your mother brought back some joy for me. Wishing you many blessings and more precious time with your mother, Katherine
I’m so glad you had that time with your mom. Everyday I have with mine is precious – even the hard days.