Intimate Conversation with Joan Early
Following a lengthy career in Mortgage Banking and Mortgage Law, Joan Early focused on the love of books she developed as a child, both reading and writing. Her first writing effort won first place in Ebony Magazine’s literary contest, and enriched her desire to pen her thoughts. She continued writing historical fiction and stories based partly on stories told by her ancestors, but changed to contemporary romance. Sara’s Reward, NightSweats, Heartstrings, A Tangled Web are available in eBook, as are her first novels, Look Both Ways, Fireflies, Oak Bluffs, Friends in Need, and Separate Dreams.
Joan’s latest novel, The Other Two-Fifths, is a walk back in time, and chronicles events that led to the formation of the NAACP. It also features events taken from her early life in Mississippi, where Joan affirms learning “the best and the worst” of what we can expect from others. Joan continues writing both genres, while enjoying her husband and family, traveling, and her current career in Real Estate. Joan and husband Dale currently reside in the Beaumont, Texas area, while also maintaining a home in Houston.
BPM: Tell us something about your most recent work. Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
Joan: The Other Two-Fifths is a story I began writing over ten years ago that details events of the past, which now seem glaring relevant with the strong focus on race relations. The book is available in paperback and eBook at bookstores, from the publisher, Argus Books, and on amazon.com.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special?
Joan: Characters in the early part of the story were taken from tapestries of my early life, and show the depths to which many will go when they feel threatened. The also show how both love and hatred motivate our actions. The characters working voter registration drives typifies college age blacks in 1969, recent Vietnam veterans who returned to a world that didn’t embrace their sacrifice. The character of Tuck, the young white freedom rider, is taken from a young man I had the pleasure of meeting in Mississippi in 1968, who wanted to be involved. Both the protagonist and the heroes, the good and the bad are part of life. The two young women, Darlene and Camille, are patterned after myself and my “road-dog” back in my early life. We wanted to be change the world, fall in love, and do everything young adults seek on the way to happiness.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
Joan: I began the story in 1969, which was one of the most signifiant years of my life, and my last year living in Mississippi. I wanted to leave a piece of our journey, as the sacrifices and risks many took to bring about a change. When Senator Obama announced his presidential candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, I revised the beginning to reflect a race riot in Springfield 100 years before Senator Obama’s historical announcement. The events of which were a springboard for the NAACP.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Joan: I enjoyed reflecting on the past and following the progress this country has made toward equality, as well as the strides needed to make the playing field even.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
Joan: My ideas are taken from current events, historical occurrences, and even vacation trips to places of inspiration, such as Martha’s Vineyard, my inspiration for Oak Bluffs. My stories are driven by characters more than plot, as I do not work from an outline. I try and create memorable characters who will remain in the reader’s hearts long after the book is read. It’s the job of those characters to move the story along. I have, from time to time, totally changed the natural progression of characters and placed them on another path as the story takes shape.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
Joan: The story is mainly about the struggle for equality that was and still is an uphill battle for minorities, especially those of African descent. It also shows how the immigrants who settled America after slaughtering the natives who dwelt here, created exactly what most of them were running from, religious persecution, and unfair practices of the ruling class. Here in America, the mostly European settlers became the ruling class, using slave labor to achieve wealth and status.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation or journey?
Joan: The story relates to present struggles for racial equality that will determine this country’s future. Much has changed for me, and for all Americans. The changes I outlined for my life have been fruitful and greatly rewarding, which I owe, in part, to the wonderful teachers who instilled a strong thirst for knowledge. I was also told that any education taken only from classroom experience alone is not enough, so I read everything I could get my hands on back then. Reading, learning, knowing more than what’s encased in your immediate sphere and focusing on the world as a whole.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Joan: I learned a lot from my research and how the past had helped shape my thoughts, dreams, and my way of life. It also made me more aware of the omissions in our history books, and again, of the necessity to read.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Joan: I met a very accomplished and interesting journalist whose relentless coverage of a murder in my hometown of Woodville, Mississippi made me shudder.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in writing this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Joan: My goal in writing The Other Two-Fifths was to showcase the efforts that have been made for the freedoms we now enjoy. Our youth is severely lacking in understanding of our culture and the sacrifices made for the advancements we now see. My continued goal is to speak to the curiosity of those who could benefit from knowing these facts.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
Joan: I usually work on more than one book, either completing or editing. I have several I would like to have published, and I’m also working on the sequel to The Other Two-fifths.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Joan: Connect with me on Facebook and my Facebook page, Joan’sBookNook. Visit my website www.joanearly.net, leave a message at www.joanearlybooks.com, follow me on https://twitter.com/JoanJEarly, Google and LinkedIn.
In addition to all book stores and the publisher at www.a-argusbooks.com, The Other Two-Fifths is available on Amazon, along with my other books at: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Early/e/B004HNCQ0I
The Other Two-Fifths by Joan Early: Link: http://a.co/6Vsqk4f