Today I have the pleasure of having author Joy Massenburge on my blog. Please welcome Joy.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a proud Texan, married, with three adult children, and four grands. A real country girl. Family means everything to me. I love to invite everybody over and cook a big Sunday meal.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Reading. LOL. Catching a movie is a real treat. But only when I’m not booked as a speaker. Also, my husband is a pastor so my First Lady duties never stop.
Do you have a day job as well?
I do. I’m an assistant to a CPA. I also handle the paperwork side of my husband’s trucking business.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing for publication in 2014. It took me about seven months to write THE END.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
My husband loved me and my stony heart to Jesus. I’ve been a romantic ever since. While I love historical romance, I’m horrible at retaining the facts and historical readers are picky about that kind of stuff. Contemporary Romance was my best fit.
Where do you get your ideas?
Usually, I hear the characters talking in my head. Or I picture a scene and it grows from there.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I write every day. It’s a discipline. It’s not always material I can add to my manuscript, but I write.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I write for the most part. At least for the first three to five chapters. Then I pull out the story plot questions from Susie May Warren’s “How to Write a Brilliant Romance Novel” and make sure I’ve covered the basic story components.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
“Five Smooth Stones.” High School Teacher gave me my first novel. BC, before Christ, Jude Deveraux was my go to author. AC, after Christ, Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series. Seeing how story could paint a picture of Christ, moved me to do the same.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Pretty much the normal stuff. I went to conference to pitch my story and was told I needed to learn the craft of writing. Looking back, they were really being nice. I had no clue what I was doing. Three years later, that same agent offered me a contract. I had two books written. They were rejected. I decided to do a full rewrite of one and pulled it. However, a couple months later I took Sharonda’s Surrender to the Publishing in Color conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey and met Edwina Perkins, managing editor for Harambee Press. Our first meeting is a funny story in itself. I know God orchestrated it all. That book is now A Heart Surrendered and it released earlier this year in July.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
I met Michelle Stimpson through my mentor Lena Nelson Dooley. These two ladies have taken me beneath their wings. They are real trail blazers and I’ve learned so much from their teaching. Either attending courses they provide or patterning myself after them.
What impact have they had on your writing?
Lena Nelson Dooley – learned the craft of writing .Michelle Stimpson – marketing my book.
What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Reading and writing will always be among us. It may be more digital, but it’s here to stay.
Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
I definitely follow a logical system. I always find the scripture basis for my main character’s journey. I build it one scene at a time. A hook. Obstacles faced to obtain goal. Action. Reaction.
What is your role in the writing community?
I’m a bridge. Yes, I write books, but I’m called to encourage others to follow their God given dreams to write as well. I use every door that has been opened to me, because of my book writing, to share the love of Christ—the Good News.
How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
We are all imperfect people who have believed a lie along the way. In our journey to the abundant life promised by God we go through obstacles. That’s the story. The process of how we overcome. Looking to Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. This is my life experience and I make sure my characters experience the same.
What is your testimony?
Truly, there is not enough time to tell. But in a nutshell, I was a bitter PK who didn’t believe what I’d heard in the church all my life. I went to the University of Texas on a full scholarship for acting. I planned to make it big. God had other plans. I have no regrets. I’m not on stage or TV, but who knows where my characters will go. Books are being turned into movies more and more.
How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?
Family and Church is infused into every story. Because I’m a PK, preacher’s kid, married to a PK, having PK kid’s, my plots revolve around the trials of pastors or PKs.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Marrying my husband. I wasn’t in love, but I obeyed the leading of Holy Spirit and married my best friend. I learned to trust Him. I’ve continued to obey God and I’ve lived a blessed life.
What projects are you working on at the present?
The Wounded Lamb Series. It’s Karen Kingsbury’s and Gary Smalley’s Baxter Family meets the Blackmoore Family—A redemption story in another neighborhood. Book 1, BLISS, is the first book I ever wrote. It’s taken time to get it ready for publication.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I see myself traveling, sharing what I’ve learned with others. In addition, I’ll continue to study to perfect my craft. I have lists of awards I desire to cross the stage and win. Haha. At least that’s the goal.
Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/d/B07SXSZ5PT
Thank you for having me on your blog.