Have you ever met someone who’s such an accurate reflection of their name that it’s impossible to imagine that person being named anything else? Joy K. Massenburge is one of those people. I first met Joy at ACFW in 2017, and was immediately drawn to her warmth, her enthusiasm, and the sheer joy and love of the Lord that radiates from everything she does!
Joy’s debut novel, “A Heart Surrendered,” is every bit as delightful as she is. I got the chance to read it ahead of its July 8 release date, and you all will NOT want to miss it! it’s got everything: Relatable characters, sparkling dialogue, a dysfunctional, yet loving family, swoony kisses, and music!! Here’s the blurb:
As the teenaged pastor's daughter of New Hope Church, Sharonda Peterson knew finding comfort in Carl's arms was a mistake. But how could the only night she ever felt beautiful be wrong?
When Carl leaves town to pursue an acting and singing career, Sharonda relegates herself to a life of church service--and solitude--rather than face the pain now associated with that one night.
Carl Ray Everhart has been caught up in the fast pace of fame … and female adoration. But a near-death experience has him questioning everything and vowing to set things straight … starting with the love that got away.
When Carl returns home to serve as the worship leader at New Hope, Sharonda finds that it takes every ounce of her resolve to resist his pursuits … not to mention memories that threaten to overturn the delicate balance she's created. Can she finally surrender the one thing she's tried all these years to protect: her heart?
Doesn’t that sound fabulous! Even more fabulous? One of you has a chance to win your choice of either a signed copy of “A Heart Surrendered” or a $10 Amazon gift card! Details at the end of the post, as always, and now let’s give a warm welcome to Joy K. Massenburge!
Thanks for being here today, Joy!
Thank you so much!
What was your inspiration for A Heart Surrendered?
A thirty-minute sprint exercise. It’s the bathroom scene where Sharonda hears the girls talking about her at the church. My mind traveled in time to a person I’d watched and wondered what had happened.
How did God change you during the writing of A Heart Surrendered? How do you hope He works in the lives of your readers?
He helped me to trust Him. This story came to me at a time when I felt I could do no more. I had published a novella in a collection with my mentor Lena Nelson Dooley. Instead of taking a break, I completed the recording for Michelle Stimpson’s audiobook, Mama B: A Time to Speak. Weary, I forced myself to be a disciplined writer. That day I’d said, “only thirty minutes.” I really believed then, what I believe today, this was an obedience walk. I had other projects I felt with a little editing, would be far better than Sharonda’s Surrender, the original name of the book.
Like Sharonda it can be hard to surrender what you know for the unknown, especially when it’s something you hold dear to your heart, like my writing. I’m so glad I obeyed. A Heart Surrendered sold before the book I’d been pitching for two years. God knew best.
What have you learned since the release of your debut, A Cry For Independence, that you were able to apply to A Heart Surrendered?
A Cry For Independence, my Indie-pub, prepared me to work with a small press. An Indie-pub doesn’t sell itself, the author has to take on the role of writer, marketer, and publisher. This author developed a better prayer life along the way. LOL. I didn’t have a team of workers, so I’ve learned how to do a little bit of everything with the help of friends, family, and ACFW.
You are the first author to release with Harambee Press, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas which serves to raise up the ethnic voice by sharing stories for and about people of color. How did God open those doors of publication for you? How do you hope He uses this wonderful new imprint in the world of Christian fiction?
It’s an honor to be Harambee Press’s first author. I’d never heard of them when I attended the Publishing in Color, Spiritual Writers’ Conferences for Under-Represented Groups. As a matter of fact, I’d never heard of PIC. My ACFW chapter vice-president had sent me the link and I felt led to travel there. Sitting among other writers introducing ourselves, Harambee’s managing editor, Edwina Perkins, carried on a conversation as if we were all friends. It’s funny looking back on that day. But I liked her. I hadn’t planned to pitch to her. Long story short, I’d pitched to the editors I’d come to see. But something about her made me check her appointment list before I called it a day. All the slots had been filled, but one. I met with her the next day and the rest is history.
My hopes? I can’t begin to speak all that is in my heart. The burden of being the first author, to make sure I represent well, is great. There are others coming up behind me that need this door to remain opened. A bridge. I’d like to see the cultures cross their individual bridges and join together in the Christian market where there is no need to type African American Christian Fiction in the web browser of Amazon to get to the authors of color I love to read.
Unity is what Harambee promotes. I pray for its continued success.
What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What obstacles or challenges present themselves when making time to write?
Life is my largest obstacle. The first two years when I was able to write without working outside the home, I wrote every morning from 8-3, breaks included, except for Wednesdays, and Sundays. Wednesdays are my critique days, giving back to others. Sundays are for God and family. Then, I went back to work. I’d write after dinner. However, since I’ve started the marketing stage of A Heart Surrendered, my writing time has suffered greatly. My writing is directed more at social media posts or material for scheduled speaking events these days. When I do have down time, my family is a priority. This week most of my writing time has been for interviews, but I’ll get up early Saturday to get some writing hours in.
If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs (or Blue Bell ice cream) with any authors(s), living or dead, who would you choose? What would you talk about?
Francine Rivers, hands down. Everyone knows she is my author of all time. And my drink is always coffee, unless it’s the brand Brandilyn Collins served at the Fantastic Fiction retreat I attended in June. LOL
The Bible. Her spiritual walk. It’s her relationship with God that pours out into her writing that I love so much.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Spend time with family. My husband of 26 years is my best friend. I have elderly parents I adore and visit often to make sure they are behaving. My grandchildren demand a day with Gigi each week. When I’m not with family, I’m at the church or on the road traveling to speaking engagements.
How can we pray for you?
That I do the will of my Father. It’s easy to get distracted from the original course or take on what others feel I should be doing.
Joy is offering the winner’s choice of either a signed copy of her novel, “A Heart Surrendered,” or a $10 Amazon gift card. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. Our randomly selected winner will be chosen and notified next Thursday, July 11.
Joy K. Massenburge crafts the love stories of pastors and their kids. She was born the sixth child of a pastor. Thinking she had avoided the church scene, she married a football player. She joined him at Sam Houston State University where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. Then on signing day with the Green Bay Packers, Mr. Football advised her she would be a pastor’s wife instead...and they raised pastor's kids; a son, a daughter, and a goddaughter.
She resides in Tyler, Texas, where you can find her surrounded by three grandchildren, curled up on her back porch with a book, or filling her five-acre country home with fifty plus people for a Blue Bell (ice cream) party.