Enisca L. Jones
Join us in welcoming our author, Ms. Enisca L. Jones to the Author Spotlight. We’ve asked Ms. Jones a number of questions which we hope will allow you to get to know her a little better.
- Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas but we moved to Grand Bahama when I turned 16 so I spent the next half of my life there.
- Did you excel in writing while in school?
I can’t say I excelled in writing in school. I will say that I was good at English which was one of my favorite subjects.
- How important is reading to you? Does it affect your writing?
I have always been an avid reader, there is nothing like a good story. I get lost in them and I can remember the characters vividly. For me a story helps better than a text book that is full of facts. Experiencing how a character overcomes a certain challenge in their life always helps me if I am in a similar situation or someone else who I can relate the story to.
I guess for me reading affects my writing more in what or how I write in terms of simplicity. I don’t like wordy books or books with big credit words or books with too much description. I believe simple is best. Maybe that’s why I write for children or short storiesJ. Who knows lol.
- What works have you written?
So far I have written:
Short Story Series
This series is about a little 7year old girl living in the Bahamas entitled Anya’s Stories: Valuable Lessons. You meet Anya and her family and she shares with you her neighborhood and the lessons she is learning with her parents help. Each book is a lesson that we can all use no matter our age.
Book 1 Treasure the Memories – How to remember the people who have impacted your life once they have died.
Book 2; Crossing the Street – Learning how to be Independent
Book 3: Jellybean and Poppit – Learning the lesson of RESPONSIBILITY
Book 4: What Should I do? – Learning how to make Decisions
Book 5: Climbing High – Learning to LISTEN
Coloring and Activity Books: All ages
- Anya goes Exploring- Around the Island of Nassau – Join Anya as she shows you some sites and some of the national symbols of the Bahamas in this delightful coloring and activity book.
Picture book Series:
- Mookie’s Excellent Adventure: All ages
Mookie is a green sea turtle on an adventure to find his family.
- Awakening – The first book in the series is where Mookie begins his journey on a beach somewhere in the Bahamas.
- Others and the Lost City - He continues his journey as he explores the ocean and meets others.
- Just Like Me- After some very frantic swimming and searching Mookie finally meets the ones that look just like him,
Coloring and Activity books
Each book in this series is full of information on green sea turtles and the other animals featured in the story, along with a glossary of terms where slang or a foreign language may have been used.
Chapter Books - Ages 7-12
- It’s In You To Fly
This was a first for me and is about a mynah bird who thinks she can’t fly. This story limiting belief systems that keep us grounded.
Poetry – All ages
- Yes, I Am A Girl!
This poem was written to encourage girls everywhere that there are no limitations.
Blog – On my website I share my events, words of encouragement and inspirational messages.
I have also written songs.
- Are you currently writing another book now?
Boy this is a loaded question and is forcing me to look at what I have in my head and on my drawing board for this year. I have several things that are in various stages of production. Chief among them is getting the last 3 books of the Anya’s Stories, Valuable Lessons Series, published before the middle of the year because I have another series for Anya in development. Also Mookie’s second book is just about ready for publication and his third story has been completed so now I have to start the drawings. Then there are several new books that I have in mind to do this year. So I guess YES is the answer to this question.
- How long have you been writing books?
I started writing a book in July 2011. Before this happy event I always wrote down dreams, inspirational thoughts, blog posts. I think when I look back I have always written something.
- Why do you write?
The short and long answer to this is that I am compelled. I just can’t seem to stop and the more I stay the course the more comes out. Last year 2017 I struggled with whether I would continue with this writing thing. It has taken a while to surrender to this process but I have found that I enjoy the creative part of writing, drawing and seeing the finished product. A series of events took place last year that continues to affirm that I am on the right track and need to continue growing and developing my craft.
- What is your process for writing books; do you create an outline before writing?
My simple answer is asking Holy Spirit. I will often sit and ask before I put pen to paper and normally a character would pop out and then setting and the story would flow from there. If I do write an outline I never stick to it and its best for me to just jump right in and let the story flow. Then from there we rewrite, edit, tweak etc.
- Do you have a daily writing regimen?
No I don’t have a daily writing regimen. I pretty much just wait for the prompting to come and flow from there. I have tried this before and it brought on too much anxiety and fear.
- Do you consider yourself a full-time or part-time writer?
This is funny because when I am working on a story or drawing I consider myself a full time writer and since my brain is never quiet I would say yes I am a full time writer. However, am I writing all the time? No because the steps and stages of producing a book are many and varied. Also you need the breaks in between where you can rest and rejuvenate.
- For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
While I do have an ereader because you can’t always travel with all of the books you want to carry with you I prefer print books hands down. I absolutely love libraries and can spend hours in them.
- How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
In 2011 I was laid off from a little security job in Nassau and I was house sitting for someone and putting out resumes, it was all a big mess. Anyway in the midst of all this madness I was assisting with a Girls Club and the founder asked me to come up with an activity for the girls to do. I prayed and the answer was creative writing and I thought well ok that’s a good idea. One Sunday after church I fell asleep and I had a dream about a little girl talking to God and when I woke up I asked who she was and the name Anya came to me. I went online and looked up the name and it was the origins of the name that jumped out at me because it came from the Hebrew ‘Hannah’ which is a direct link to my mother and grandparents who are Hanna’s. I was like ok God straight from you to me. That is where my journey began. I sat and wrote the first story, terrified because I had no clue what I was doing. When we had the session with the girls the second story came. By the end of 2011 I had written 6 short stories.
I had no clue as to what I was doing and I was terrified but I was compelled.
Did you intend to become an author?
No. I had no desire or wish or training to become an author or illustrator even though it was prophesied over me. I should say here that the number one reason that I persevered with the first book was because of how it impacted a little boy and his siblings when his father passed away suddenly. I thought, if the story helped him and his siblings then maybe there are others who will find it helpful and I was reminded of Christ journey to the cross. He came for the one.
- Do you write a draft on paper, at a keyboard or from an audio recording of yourself?
Sometimes it can be a combination of writing on paper or keyboard. I carry a notebook to put things down if I am not near my computer but my go to method is just putting it down on the computer because it just feels like a lot more work doing it the other way.
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It does both especially because I do both the writing and illustrating. The part I really hate is formatting but I love the finished product.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Hmm it can take from anywhere from a month to infinity because it’s a two part process for me. I have to get the story completed then I begin the drawings and depending on the artwork this process takes longer than the story. With each book I have written so far I have used a different method of producing the final images i.e. coloring pencils, water colors, markers, etc. Everything I do is done by hand; I have not graduated to digital formats. I am still learning and growing.
- What genre are your books?
Children’s Non Fiction, Poetry, Fiction, Inspirational, I do believe that my books have messages for all ages groups.
- What draws you to this/these genre(s)?
I don’t know. I guess the best answer would be simplicity. I do love children though and they fascinate me.
- How much research do you do when you’re about to write a book?
I actually don’t research a book beforehand because often times I don’t know how the story is going to take shape until I actually begin writing. Research is done during the writing process as the characters tell me their story.
- Have you written any books in collaboration with other writers?
No I haven’t written any books in collaboration with others. I think this is in my future though.
- If your book were to make it to the big screen, which actor/actress would you like to have as your main character?
As I write for children so far I haven’t seen any child actor that I can say would be a good representation of Anya as yet. I am thinking the books would be developed into an animated series or movie (goals) and for this I would need some true Bahamian talents for both Anya and Mookie. My characters are Bahamian I would want authentic Bahamian voices to voice the characters.
- What are common traps for aspiring writers?
- There is no formula to writing. Sometimes your process evolves as you move along so stop trying to fit into somebody else’s mold. Just write it!
- Stop over thinking the process. Information overload will stymie your process so shut out the noise.
- I think the most common trap is thinking that your book would sell millions out the gate. It is possible but sometimes it’s an uphill battle. I would tell any aspiring authors to MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
- How important is it for you to receive book reviews?
This is a double edged sword. Reviews can help or they can hinder but I believe ultimately they are useful.
- How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
There is no quest for reviews because no matter how much you ask people to review they seem to forget. Sometimes it’s very discouraging.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
My best advice is two part:
- No matter how you publish you will have to do the marketing of your book yourself. You will have to do all the leg work for your book. It’s a lot of work and you need to know that before you go in. There is no magic formula.
- You will have to use all methods of marketing for your books i.e. book readings, book fairs, all of social media, getting books into stores and any other innovative ideas you can come up with.
- Be Social. Creative people on the whole have a tendency to be reclusive. We want to share our work but not necessarily socialize so stepping out of our comfort zones is a bit difficult. To be social you will have to push yourself to join groups like: Goodreads, a writing group, book club or something that you might be interested in learning etc. and try to be more social with others, not always to promote your stuff but for people to get to know you better. This helps to build a following and when you write the next book and promote it people will be inclined to check it out.
- Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Believe or not I have considered doing a different name for any adult content books I may write.
- Do you try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
When I think of children I think what they have to say is important so they deserve our best when it comes to the products and services we produce for them. I always want to be original when I write. I guess that’s why I don’t really read children’s books because I don’t want to copy anyone’s style or story and sometimes they can pop up in your material.
- Have you ever designed your own book cover?
I have designed all of my book covers.
- Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Yes I do, because it will attract people to at least give your book a look see.
- What is the secret to becoming a successful author?
I have no clue can you tell me please? lol But if you wanted to put my foot to the fire on this I would say consistency. You just have to keep at and decide what success looks like to you.
- Have you received any awards for your literary works?
No, I haven’t received any awards as yet.
- Where can we buy or see your books?
Right now the only place to see my books is on Amazon.com.
- How easy/difficult has it been getting your books in local store shelves?
I have not found it difficult to put my books in stores in the Bahamas. All I did was ask them their policy and taken the books in for their review.
What advice would you give aspiring authors on publishing and marketing their book
- I would tell any aspiring authors to MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
- Define what success looks like to you.
- This is not a sprint but a marathon. Take your steps at your pace.
- Stay the course and keep plugging along.
- Beware of information overload. There is a lot out there about what to do, how to do it, what you must and must not have etc. Sometimes you just have to shut out the noise. It can get overwhelming.
- I would ask are you ready for the flood? Invariably when you write the first book and get that out of your system an avalanche happens. It doesn’t happen for You could write one book and that’s all but for others there comes a flood.
- BREATHEEEE! You breathe and let your work breathe between each step.
- What is something most people don’t know about you?
That I am visually challenged, I was diagnosed with a degenerative Cornea disease in 2001 called Keratoconus in both eyes. I wear hard contact lenses, glasses are not an option and when I can’t wear them I could be termed legally blind, even though the doctors disagreeJ. The only treatment so far is a cornea transplant. So if my eyes are having a bad day I cannot work, that means that I cannot wear my lenses, I can’t look at the computer or tablet screens.