Saturday, August 1, 2009

Joy DeKok: "Believed and Loved"

Young Joy Getting Her Photo Taken (a girl named appropriately!)

What if you have a dream, and it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned it? What if it's a little different?

Joy DeKok knows what that is like. And she now sees a little better how her dream would pan out in God's perfect vision for her. Her delightful and poignant own story is the drive behind her author coaching and she "believes and loves" not only her readers, but also those who wish to write. Be sure to leave a comment with your email contact (YOU [AT] ISP dot com, to discourage the trolls.) Joy is giving away her book!

Childhood Ambition:

I had a 3-fold ambition – to be a wife, mommy, and writer. When I was about
three- years-old, a friend of my dad’s who had promised he would wait for me to grow up so he could marry me – married someone else. On his wedding day, I promised myself I’d find my very own man someday. Part of that dream, was also children. Lots of them. As a teenager I read, “Cheaper by the Dozen” and thought I’d like that many children. I used to stare at the huge convent in our city and dream that one day the nuns would sell it to me so I could fill it with my children and lots of dogs.

When Jon and I started dating and I told him about this dream, he was delighted. He came from a family of 7 kids so 12 didn’t seem like such a daunting number. We assumed our dreams were part of God’s plan. We were wrong. I won’t go into the whole journey here, but at 50, I can see part of God’s plan clearly – we have the sweet privilege of loving and being loved by a huge number of nieces, nephews, their spouses, and children. (The combined number is over 40!) At twenty-something accepting infertility as God’s perfect plan was a lot harder.

Joy's new perm and new coat--snazzy!

The writing started before I could read. I traced the words in my books and then taped together those pieces of paper into my own books dreaming about the day I’d write my own words and see them in “real” books. I am married to the man of my dreams and am a published writer. Two out of three ain’t bad!

Joy reading the paper wearing Grandpa's glasses. Joy says, "I couldn't read the words yet--I was a word watcher and the paper had so many to look at, sort of like a word catalog!"

Fondest Memory (then):

Being with my grandpa. He was very sick and I spent lots of quiet time with him – usually in his arms. He loved me deeply and listened to me as if whatever I said was the most important thing he’d ever heard. I knew he loved God deeply and I was certain he loved me almost as much.

Grandpa letting Joy play the piano.

Proudest Moment (then):

The day my dad stood up for me at school. I was a chatterbox and first grade work wasn’t a challenge for me (I’d been reading and writing since I was 4)--being quiet was so hard. My teacher had called my parents in several times with good reason.

One day one of the other girls was talking and the teacher assumed it was me. It wasn’t. The teacher yanked my desk out of the row (again) and made it clear--my parents would deal with it this time or else. Not sure what or else meant, I went home sick in my heart. My parents listened to me and told me they’d take care of things the next day. The next morning instead of riding the bus, my dad took me to school. Before we could go in, the girl who had done the talking got in a taunt or two--she thought the victory was hers. So did I. Daddy stood with me in front of the teacher and said, “Joy’s mother and I believe her.”

He confirmed that when confronted with wrong doing in the past, I’d always “owned up” to my guilt. The teacher eventually agreed with him. My dad is around 5 ft 10 or 11 inches tall. That day when he said he believed me, he was a giant of a man. As he continued to talk to the teacher, he advised her to ask the girl who had confronted me at the school door. He left after giving me a gentle kiss on the top of my head.

Believed in and loved. I was so proud of him. Still am.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:

Pleasing people. I wanted to be liked and worked hard at it. Then, I wanted to be cool. Then I wanted boys to think I was beautiful. I wasted a lot of time worrying and striving to please when I could have been having a lot more fun just being me.

My First Job:

I baby sat two little girls every day after school when I was in the 6th grade. I also baby sat for another family on Saturday mornings. I was young but loved kids, was highly responsible, and enjoyed earning a bit of money doing something I loved.

Childhood Indulgence:

Paper and pencils or pens. I loved them and bought them with my allowance at the local Ben Franklin or Woolworth’s. I loved the way paper felt, the sound of a pencil or pen on paper, and the smell of paper with either lead or ink words on the pages. Sometimes I saved out a dime for Mac’s Grocery where they had a huge selection of penny candy. A dime went a long ways and we made those candy treats last for days.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:
My black winter coat with the fake leopard tam and purse. I felt like a movie star.

Joy with her new coat, hat and purse, looking like a movie star, no doubt!

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show:

I loved Snow White. She was loved by animals, the dwarves (I could not pick a very favorite--I loved them all,) and the prince. I went to Disney on Ice this winter with my great niece. It was the princesses and their princes and we enjoyed each one. I was missing Snow White when at the very end, the castle doors opened and there she was. The whole crowd cheered. We all loved her.

Favorite Childhood Book:

I have many of my books from childhood. They are battle worn--some falling apart. They all smell old and are all fragile. They are on my office bookshelf as a reminder of a dream come true. My favorite? As a teen I read Blueberry Summer and the Christmas Bride. I loved them both--they are together on the shelf.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime:

Tracing words and eventually, I was given my favorite toy ever--a little red typewriter with a full like-real keyboard, red and black ink ribbons, and a real bell that let me know it was time to return the carriage. If it had to do with words I loved it.

Did you pass notes or have a pen pal as a child?

I wrote to my only girl cousin as a child. She was my pen pal. My friends and I wrote notes to each other almost every day in school. We doodled on those pages and wrote our hearts out. Then, we walked home from school together, talked on the phone, and walked together again the next morning. We were constant communicators!

Childhood Heroes:

My dad and my uncle Frank who served in WW2. Frank told me stories from the war--things he didn’t tell anyone else. He even cried in front of me. For whatever reason, that made him even more a hero to my tender heart. Later, when confined to the VA hospital, this hero went to visit the Vietnam vets--clearly communicating to them that they were his heroes. I went with him and saw destroyed men light up at this old man’s words. They’d cry. He’d cry. I’d cry. I knew I was in the presence of great men and wondered why in the world no one else knew it. Oh my--what an honor!

First Crush:

My uncle Lee. He was quiet, handsome, and always had room for me on his lap where I could breath in the scent of pipe tobacco and after shave. He could hold me for hours and again, made me feel like I was the only person in the world worth listening to. I knew he belonged forever to my Aunt Dorothy, but when I was on his lap, even she gave us our space.

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

I’d written all my life until I was about 17 years old. A teacher I greatly respected condemned my writing and I burned hundreds of poems--keeping on the first one I wrote after I came to faith in Jesus.

Later, my husband encouraged me to do whatever it took to follow my dream and write. While he didn’t stand at her desk and defend me, he stood in home and when I got cranky he quietly ordered a desk and word processor – they arrived at our door the next day. The examples of the loving men God placed in my life are part of the driving force behind Getting It Write and the Author Coaching that I do.

Joy's handsome husband, the guy who believes and loves Joy, and gave Joy her wings (and tools!) for writing.

I can be honest, but there’s no reason to destroy another person’s dreams. We’re all works in progress. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing someone else’s dream, seeing it become their vision, then their reality, and watching them soar. Then, something else amazing happens – after they catch their dreams, I get to watch them cast their vision into the hearts and lives of others. Wow. Who knew? Only God.

Rain Dance by Joy DeKok

Rain Dance is a novel that deals with the issues of infertility and abortion. It attempts to answer the question: Can shattered dreams be part of the plan?

From Joy Dekok: Christian Author & Speaker

"Abortion is still one of the most divisive issues women and men confront. Infertility is still one of the most misunderstood experiences women and men face.

I'm passionate about both which can be dangerous for an author. The rules of writing say the author must stay out of the story. I knew that couldn't happen with Rain Dance.

Then there was the fact that combining these topics in one book made the project daunting. The issues looked mountain-sized and I'd have to climb them both. I also knew I was going to ask readers on all sides of the abortion issue to look beyond the politics to the personal. My own beliefs and hypocrisies would splash all over the pages. . .so that meant I'd break a rule of writing . . . as the author, I'd have to show myself on the pages. I could only hope it didn't come across as intrusive or meddling or worse yet. . .preachy.

According to readers. . .it didn't.

Instead, the characters drove the plot. The story and the format worked. Both readers and critics loved it!

The spoken - sometimes whispered - reader responses amazed me even more and confirmed to me: The Jonica's and Stacie's (characters in Rain Dance) in real-life experience similar experiences.

Then I heard from women who were neither infertile or post-abortive. . .but who found compassion and love for people they thought they could never understand on the pages of a novel.

Those revelations could have been a high for the author. . .and I admit - they were. However, that faded in the face of what the comments revealed below the surface of encouraging words: A need for a place we could all meet on common ground and find resources and that would lead to uncommon support."

Leave a comment with email info (see above as to how to avoid the "trolls.") Win this book in a drawing! If you don't win, be sure to see to order a copy of your own.

Be sure to check out Joy's web site, coaching site and other places!
Getting It Write!
Joy says: "Need a writing coach? Do you want to discover and then what matters most? Are you wondering what’s up in the publishing world and where you fit in?

Then…you might be at the right place!

As an author coach, I help people write what matters most and discover their publishing options."

And for fun and excellent pages and to see her books for KIDS! check out this site!


Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Don't enter me in the contest, Crystal, but I did want to comment on this exceptional "interview" with my dear friend, Joy DeKok, a friend I've never met. (But that will change soone!)

Joy has become my coach and mentor just recently and I couldn't be more delighted. An encourager extraordinaire. I am blessed.

Love you, Joy!

Jo said...

Just recently on another blog a author had asked what us readers would like to see in books and I had written one about dealing with abortions. I had no clue there was a book out dealing with it. I would love to be entered in the drawing.


Linda W. said...

This book would be a book I'd like to read, as abortion is a hot topic for me and it would help me understand how to help those who are infertile. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Sandee61 said...

Wonderful interview! Would love to be added to the list for "Rain Dance". It looks like a really good book. Thank you!



Unknown said...

Loved, loved, loved the interview, and the pictures were just adorable. :o) Please sign me up for the giveaway!

orca0024 at yahoo dot com

Erica Vetsch said...

Congratulations again, Joy. What a fun interview.

Don't enter me in the drawing. I already own a copy.

And Peg's right, Joy excels at encouragement.

Lisa said...

Wonderful interview. I'd love to receive a copy of the book. I don't think many people understand the pain of infertility or abortion. That you tackled both in one book is amazing.

Thank you.

Crystal Laine said...

I drew a name for Joy's book yesterday and the winner is CHRISTY. Will be emailing her and Joy.

Thanks so much for the comments and for reading!