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ELIZA JOY IS 6 YEARS OLD AND HER LOVE FOR LITERATURE HAS MADE HER THE STAR AUTHOR OF TWO BOOKS
Eliza Joy's story is not one you hear of everyday that's what makes it so special. At just 6 years old she is internationally published and the author of two books The Yellow Dolphin and The Blue Monkey. One book tells the story of a yellow dolphin who learns to be in the right place at the right time and the other is about a blue monkey who learns to tell the truth.
Eliza Joy has great lessons to share with other children and adults through her imaginative stories published by Author House. The young, bright girl comes from a very supportive family and is the eldest to her three brothers. She 'love's stories' and her firm favourite book is the Bible. Usually when boredom kicks in for most youngster's, playing games or with toys is the likeliest solution but for Eliza Joy she used her passion for writing stories and generated two books which have strong moral lessons and receive worldwide recognition. Her moving story touched the press and she was featured in the Evening Standard, the GUBA site, The Hackney Gazzette as well as the CNN Report. Eliza Joy is a shining example of how far imagination coupled with passion and self belief can take us. In this interview her proud mother Joyce Opoku speaks about her talented daughter, parenting and what it's gonna take for all you ambitious writers to publish a book too.
ELIZA JOY A SHINING STORY TELLER
How did Eliza Joy develop an interest in books and literature?
Eliza Joy has always been encouraged to read from a very early age as well as encouraged to doodle whatever she is thinking of whether in words or through illustration.
What prompted Eliza Joy to write a book at such a young age?
It all started as an accident really. It was the February half term in 2012 and she said she was bored and started writing stories on the computer.
How has God helped in the process of launching a book?
A friend of ours was trying to contact a journalist they knew to write an article on the books but it turned out that particular journalist no longer worked there but then God made a way by giving us favor with another and from the day her story was published in the Evening Standard, many people have been inspired. After that we had a call from a documentary maker who was documenting Black role models in our society for Black history month and they also contacted her for the Documentary, 'Murder to Excellence'. These are people we don't know and didn't contact so it could only have been God.
Were there any challenges in getting this book published?
Because book publishing was new to us, we contacted a publisher in America who advised us about self publishing so it was not very difficult. Although in hind sight, perhaps we should have contacted more established press like Penguin or similar companies.
How do you think a relationship with God and knowing Jesus Christ has helped Eliza Joy?
Immensely. She is obviously still very young but she knows the Lord and knows the word of God concerning us all is true. I remember when a researcher from the GUBA Awards team sent her an interview via e-mail and she asked her what her favorite book was, her answer was 'The Bible'.
What advice would you give to parents raising children?
It is a challenging but also a truly rewarding thing. But the joy of knowing you are committed to what God has entrusted you with and therefore will bless you for, is great indeed. An old Polish woman once said to me, 'little children, little problem. Big children, big problem!' It gets a lot more challenging as they grow older but with God, all things are possible. We need to invest more in prayer but also be as practical as possible because after all, they have their individual personalities that requires bespoke attention.
How can we encourage young people to tap into their gifts?
A lot of these young people need to be led in the right direction because some of them may not even know what their talent is let alone tap into it. Also, some are naturally shy or laid back and may need more encouraging than others. I also believe parents have a part to play because, for instance, if there is a child with a great talent to play tennis but their parents have no time to take them to practice, naturally, they will not be able to develop it. So there must be an element of sacrifice on the part of parents.
What can Christians do to have more influence in publishing?
Where do I start...we need to get ourselves out there and help one another otherwise it is the publishing companies who end up making money not the authors and God knows the church could really do with a bit of money for evangelism and so forth. I know there are some good christian publishers out there but we need to do more to help our own.
What advice would you give to anyone that wants to write or finish a book?
First of all, have a good and inspiring story. Secondly, be prepared to sacrifice your time if not money. Thirdly, be consistent and hang in there because I know for most people, typing day and night may not come to them naturally. I know this not because I have written a book myself but because I have been editing books in my spare time and I know it is time consuming.
Has your Ghanaian heritage influenced your lives in a positive way?
Definitely. There are at least two things that almost every Ghanaian child would be exposed to from a young age: Religion and Education (both formally and informally). And without a doubt, these two things, plus many more culturally positive things, have shaped myself and my family. God bless our homeland Ghana!
Watch Eliza Joy talk about her book with her Mother Joyce Opuku in the Murder to Excellence Documentary:
(Skip to 15 minutes 10 seconds to watch Eliza Joy's reading).
Eliza Joy's books The Yellow Dolphin and The Blue Monkey are available on Amazon and can be downloaded on Kindle.
Stay updated with Eliza Joy www.elizajoy.com