Fairfax resident Joyce Adjekum published her first novel “Not By Blood” in March 2019. Inspired by her own relationships with wonderful sisters (not by blood) in her own life, she intertwines her own upbringing in both Ghana and United Kingdom to voice a novel (the first in trilogy) that is described by Mascot Books as“moving as it is powerful.”
The moment you discovered you are a writer
HARRIS: I have always written short stories, but I have never been brave enough to complete a story for publication until September of 2016 when I felt compelled to write this story and complete it.
Why did you write this book?
HARRIS: It was so important for me to share with the world a story about friendship, love and courage. I felt like if I was going to die, well then this was what I will leave for the world. Having Lyme disease felt like a death sentence at the time.
Can you help us visualize the place where you write?
HARRIS: Yes, I like to handwrite every page and mostly in a room in my house where I designed it as my reading room. It was originally my dining room. It is full of plants, lights and a bay window overlooking the trees outside. It is very tranquil and Zen like room.
The story of getting your book published and the name of your publisher
HARRIS: I did quite a bit of research and decided that I wanted to self-published but with all the benefit of a traditional publishing house. After contacting several companies, I met with one of the Senior Editors at Mascot Books, and she loved the first few pages she read. She told me that I was able to make her want to be with the sisters and take part in their conversation. Those words gave me encouragement and whenever I wanted to give up I remembered what she had said and kept writing.
Your role in the distribution and marketing of the book
HARRIS: Mascot Books is doing the distribution and some of the marketing, but my research also showed me that even with the large publishing house you, the author, must get involved in the marketing to get the word out and sell your book. I believe that the story has something for all women ages 18 and up as well as men who just love to read. Therefore, I am attending trade shows as well as developing a marketing strategy called “Tea with the Author”. If an individual orders 15 copies with their friends or for their friends, I am more than happy to meet with them and have a discussion of the book over English tea. I bring the mini sandwiches, tea pots, tea cups, tea bags and they provide the cakes or pastries.