Hello friends…Let me introduce my dear friend, Carol Joyce, who is an accomplished author with a passionate heart for reaching out to those in need.  We met in the Dominican Republic almost 5 years ago, when we were on a trip with Compassion International.  Ever since, she has been a huge inspiration and encouragement to me.  I love her writing.  She especially touches the hearts and minds of young readers.  You will be blessed by her literary work. Check out my recent interview with Carol below!  ~Caitlin Jane

I’m fascinated with authors, since I love to read. Has this been your career path over the years?

Carol Joyce: I began my work career as an elementary school teacher. Later, I earned a Masters in Reading. I interrupted my career to become a mom of two boys. Once they were in school, I substituted and found that worked well with my family’s schedule. Then, of course, I got involved in their activities as a Cub Scout and then and 4 H leader, among other things. I love children and have been involved with young people my whole life.

So, what led you to pursue writing?

Carol Joyce: About 8 years ago, a few friends of mine and I started planning and leading weekend retreats for our church ladies. I started writing and delivering some of the messages created to inspire and teach the group. Our aim was to help them be strengthened and grow in their spiritual walk with God. When I would sit down in a quiet place to think about what to write, I could feel the Lord inspiring me and the words came quite easily. After this happened several times, I believe God was showing me a spiritual gift he had in mind for the next phase in my life. It was then that I began looking for a writing course, where I could learn how to write and what it takes to be an author. The only thing I could find that fit into my schedule was a correspondence course that taught me how to write books for children and young adults. As I progressed through the course, I began to develop a manuscript, which led to the creation of my first book, Beads of Change.

Tell me about your books.

Carol Joyce: Since 2008, I’ve written two fiction books for young adults. My first book, Beads of Change, shares the struggles Melissa Rose Hartley has as the youngest child in her family. When the dynamics of her family change, Melissa searches for “the chain that holds the beads of her life together.” It’s a good read for anyone who faces changes in their family, whether due to divorce or simply a sibling going away to college. Just Friends was published in 2012. I had a lot of struggles with relationships growing up and received hardly any practical guidance through it all. I feel strongly about young people being “just friends” with the opposite sex. The main characters in this book enjoy adventures, mysteries, and life on the Banks of the Chesapeake Bay with family and friends.

What is the inspiration behind your books?

Carol Joyce: When I lived at home with my family, I struggled with lots of issues. As an adult, I seemed to have walked away from all of that with a heavy load that God and I have worked on over the years. But there was one spark of hope in my growing up years. I was really close to my grandmothers. One of them had a place by the water and I would spend time there with my dad’s side of the family. Fortunately, I had a female cousin that was my age and we had a marvelous time together. I have such happy memories of those times. I started incorporating my relatives, that special setting and some of the fun activities we experienced into my books. As it turns out, writing these two books was good therapy for me. You know, seeing the glass half full instead of half empty. I also wanted to leave a legacy for my children, so they would know about some of the great times I had as a young girl.

You say that your books are for young adults. Do you find adults like your books as well?

Carol Joyce: Yes they do! Many adults like reading about days-gone-by, as the saying goes. For instance, our summer place didn’t have indoor plumbing so we used the outhouse in the back yard. Truthfully, I was not a fan of that creepy place! You can see a picture of it in my book. We used to wash and dry dishes (no electric dishwasher) and it gave the women time to talk and share ideas. So many of these traditions are now lost to more modern conveniences that distract us from relationship building.

Other than writing, what are some of your passions?

Carol Joyce: I am an advocate for Compassion International and help churches, communities, and individuals understand the plight and needs of children in foreign countries. I’ve traveled with Compassion to see the living conditions of children and their need to feel significant. Sadly, governments around the world don’t have the means or support to help their own people. I have sponsored eight children over the past nine years, providing them with an education, family needs and medical attention. But more than that, I show each child that I care for him/her and convey God’s love through my encouraging letters and prayers. It is very rewarding to develop such meaningful relationships and allows me to take the focus off of myself and serve others in need. 

Do you have a message for young people?

Carol Joyce: Where do I start? God has laid so many things on my heart to share with young people. It’s amazing how the Lord can use our hurts and wrong choices to guide others. I guess the best thing I can say is that if anyone out there has an issue and needs someone to talk to about it, they should e-mail me at caroljoycebooks1@verizon.net and hopefully I can offer a listening ear.

What are some of your future projects and writing goals?

Carol Joyce: What I’ve written so far has given me confidence to write what is really on my heart and my first two books are simply a launching pad for future works. Right now, I am blogging at http://caroljoycebooks.com. In the weeks to come, I’d like to start a blog specifically for young people. I just need to get my ideas formulated. I just entered a book contest with Writer’s Digest. Please pray that they choose my book, Just Friends. It would open up some new doors of opportunity for me.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Carol Joyce: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to help you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I guess this would be my message for young people: Why try to develop your own plan for your life when God has an awesome one designed just for you? Consult Him every step of the way and you WILL be blessed.

Where can people find your work?

Carol Joyce: I have a great website where you can buy my books and find out more about me!

My books are also sold in local bookstores, including Eclecticity in Westminster MD, Greetings and Readings in Hunt Valley MD, the bookstore in the Gettysburg Outlets, PA and online at your favorite sites (Amazon, Nook, etc).