My friend James Landrith recently asked me if I’d showcase a young and upcoming author and poet on my blog. Of course, I said yes, because that’s what friends are for :) James had met this young woman and was very impressed with her writing and character so he decided to interview her.
The interview is below, and it’s a really lovely thing to read, with a lot of personal insights and observations from Joey. So, without further ado, here she is, talking to James….
James: I’d like to open up by asking you a few questions for the readers. Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
Joey: I was born and raised in Washington DC. I grew up in South East and Northeast where I attended public schools. I grew up with four sisters in a house where my parents were together, they still are. We weren’t rich or anything in fact now that I’m much older I realize that we were more than likely poor but my parents did a fantastic job of keeping that out of our sights. They taught me love and survival. I’m most appreciative of that. I am second to the youngest and have always been very protective of the people I love. I began writing at 11. That was the age I began writing poetry but my relationship with the written word began much earlier in life. I always loved reading and being read to. I always was the kid with their hand up ready to read aloud to the class. Whenever the teacher or my mom would read to us I’d be the kid interacting and smiling from ear to ear with excitement.
James: From speaking with you on a few occasions, I know you are passionate about writing. Can you tell me what inspired you to become a writer?
Joey: A lot of things aided in the idea to become a writer but what made me decide to make it a career was an incident that happened one night I was upset. I always would write poetry to express myself so I was ritual. So I sat at my old fashioned box screen computer and I received an upsetting phone call. In reaction to the call I threw my binder across the room, the same fan that cooled my small room that at the time had no air. The binder opened and the fan blew pages from that binder across the room. At that very moment I realized I had so many poems; enough to write a book. It was the beginning of everything that has come to pass and everything soon to come.
James: Let’s talk about poetry for a moment. Poetry has always been one of my favorite types of writing to experience. I write myself and read it often. I’ve recently read your first book, Love’s Untold Story: Book 1 and really enjoyed it. You’ve previously told me that you’ve been writing poetry for years. Poet to poet, can you tell me what is it that attracts you to poetry?
Joey: Poetry is my first love. I like the freedom of it. It has a few platforms but it doesn’t have to be categorized and placed in a refined box. I love the expressiveness of it. To me poetry is real its emotions at its most raw and unscripted place. Poetry makes you feel alive in many ways its romantic, it’s raw, it’s cunning, it’s whatever you want it or need it to be. Poetry is the one form of writing that not only gives to the world it gives to the writer. It gives the writer a chance to put it all on the table and all on the line. It’s writer’s therapy
James: Tell us about your favorite authors and books. What about those books and authors make the special to you?
Joey: Oh I love a lot of authors and books. One of my favorite books is called Genesis Code. It is a great book. The plot starts out as simple as a homicide and builds to an explosive plot regarding a conspiracy to kill children that were conceived by fertility clinics that used Jesus relics. It is one of my favorites because it was a great book even at the beginning which gave the plots twists and turns worth every page turned. Another good read of mine is a science fiction book called the masque. It is an older book but to me it still holds up to technology standards of today which is quite epic considering it was written perhaps twenty years ago. I love all genres of fiction. From urban novels to fantasy, graphic novels I’m a huge comic book fan. I love thrillers, erotica. You name it’s a good chance that I have or will read it. Currently I’m reading a series called The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A Barron. I’m currently reading book three. I’ll have to say that is my favorite author at this time. I’m sure I’ll have another name to add when I move on to my next series of books. I’m a fan of Maximum Ride as well. It’s a good action packed fantasy series; each book adding to the prior book’s awesomeness. The two books in my life that are special to me are childhood classics. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “The Hungry Caterpillar”. I made my mom read them over and over. I will always love those books
James: Let’s talk about Blurr. I’ve been enjoying the book and the metropolitan DC setting for a good portion of the story. As I’ve lived in the area since 1992, I can truly feel the city within the pages. What motivated you to tell this story?
Joey: Well my idea started as me wanting to write a book about super heroes. Then I was like no I don’t want to go to war with Marvel. So I decided that they could have that. Plus I wish I could draw like the artists they have. Then I went with a fantasy novel concept. I drew up an entirely different first draft. It was okay, but it was mostly random concepts and ideas. It wasn’t until I went into research mode that I found a website full of mythical creatures that an idea started to form. My main goal was to steer away from clichéd monsters and creatures. I wanted something unique, something that had a story to be told. I came across these creatures called Blurrs. They were said to be demons but no one could get a picture of them to honestly give them clarity as to what they truly were. It was then that I decided it would be fun to take a creature with little information or research for an origins story. This aided in my decision for them to be neutral beings. And thank you! I threw a lot of that DC flavor in there for my fellow Washingtonians.
James: Is there an underlying theme or message you are conveying in your writing?
Joey: The message is that no matter how damaged or lost you think you are you can find your way back. Keep believing and you will be granted favor to find that which is lost. No one is ever too gone or too lost. Ever….
Joey’s website can be found at: http://www.joeyrenee.com/
She can be found on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/joeyreneexoxo
Her goodreads Author Page is at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7837267.Joey_Renee
You can purchase her books online via Amazon.com from her website at: http://www.joeyrenee.com/#!books/cnec
An excerpt of Joey’s fantasy novel “Blurr” is reprinted below with the author’s kind permission. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I have since picking it up!
Excerpt from ‘Blurr’
My ride home from work was awkward. I always fall asleep on the train but I never have dreams. Even when I go to sleep for as far back as I can remember. I’ll drift off to sleep and wake up with no recollection of a dream. When I sat down in the corner seat and got comfortable that is when the weirdness began.
The daydream took place in a dank and dark, shadow casted forest. It was hard for me to pinpoint a time and location of where I stood. Everything I’d laid eyes upon was unfamiliar. The fragrances in the air were alluring. Large rolling hills held tiny shack like buildings. Everything seemed of older times but had an almost modern twist to it. The air smelled like fresh baked bread. Natives of the land were roasting chicken and other livestock on an old school turnstile made of tree branches. Their clothes were scraggly, torn, and made of natural materials. It almost appeared as though they made their garments themselves. I walked to the top of one out of several dirt hills. The dirt hills trailed through an exotic forest. The trees and bushes were unlike anything I’d ever seen or read about. I was no expert but they were rare and beautiful. Natives had many small stands where they sold crafted items. There seemed to be a whole lot of handcrafting going on in this town. I was almost certain that I was in some kind of Amish town. Their skin tones were a variation of colors but every person looked as if their skin was kissed by the sun. I walked through a path that led to a large wooden house within the woods. The trees were tall and peculiar. They were fruitiferous and umbriferous offering much exotic fruit and shade. It was paradise like. Some of them looked like a mix between palm, pine and oak trees. While others I couldn’t discern. The bark looked like sturdy bamboo. The trees were so tall and the leaves were only at the top of the trees. I could not help but to wonder what kind of furniture they could make from such exotic looking trees. The plants were interesting as well. They were vivid and multicolored. Each flower and plant glistened and glowed like they were watered with pure liquid gold.
As I walked down the brick red stone and dirt path staring at the most unique collection of botanical gardening I’ve ever seen, I walked into a mysterious woman of slender build. She appeared to be in her late twenties, with long, wavy, brown, tresses. Her eyes were so hazel they seemed almost transparent. And her skin was a flawless caramel complexion. She was beautiful. She looked as though she was in a hurry or running from someone. Before I got the time to ask if she was okay she told me to follow her. I was reluctant at first but she appeared to be harmless so I went with it. Plus, she could have snuck up on me if she really meant me harm.
The woman led me to the old rustic house I saw from the top of the dirt path. The beauty of the gardens perished as we grew closer to the area surrounding it. Trees and plants were limp and lifeless in appearance and color. Even the house had a creepy and shadowy cast over it.
I looked to the woman and said “What is this!? Where am I!?”
Before she could respond I was awakened by an announcement of the next stop over the train’s speaker system. “Eastern Market, Doors Opening” I sprang to my feet and ran off the train before the automated voice said “Doors Closing”.
Later on that night I couldn’t shake the feeling of that daydream. Everything about it felt so real. One minute I’m completely aware of my surroundings. Then the next minute I was completely engulfed in another world. So many things stood out and felt so real. The smell of the fresh bread and roast was unlike anything I’ve ever smelled, and I’ve smelled a lot of fresh bread. Every sandwich shop and bakery makes fresh bread, especially downtown where I work. However, the fragrance was different. It was so sweet and light. It didn’t smell strong and heavy like it does in the city. It was so tantalizing I wanted to taste the air. I could not only smell the bread cooking I could smell the grains and oats they were made from.
Thinking about the bread got me nowhere. I needed to get it together. It was difficult finding some kind of meaning to the dream. Being as though I never had one before, I didn’t really know what to make of it. My curiosity led me to thoughts of that house. What was up with it? It seemed so dark and shadow casted. Why would that woman try to take me there? She didn’t seem like she wanted to hurt me, but that house was so creepy I wasn’t too sure. The hairs on my arm stood up at the mere thought of it. I needed to shake the chills off and relax. I was sitting in the house freaking out about nothing. I washed my worries away in a steaming hot shower and nestled in my bed for some much needed rest.
Sue: Thanks for the great interview, James, and I certainly hope, Joey, that your writing gains followers and recognition. It’s something we all strive to as writers and while it’s tough going, the journey to get there is very rewarding.
And if anyone wants to take a look at Jame’s blog too, as he is a rather interesting person (in my opinion anyway but then I’m biased) then this is the link