Seven books published now in six genres from fiction to academic text: Not exactly the recommended strategy for branding oneself as an author, but it keeps life interesting.
AVAILABLE NOW FOR PRE-ORDER At long last: a novel begun 21 years (yep, 21) and rewritten more times than I'd like to count. Set for release Nov. 1, 2017, A TANGLED MERCY is a story of tragedy, atrocity, redemption and hope told in alternating time periods, 1822 and 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina. For chances to win free Advance Review Copies from the publisher, who is giving away dozens, please see the Goodreads site's page for A Tangled Mercy.
A TANGLED MERCY intertwines the tumultuous summers of 1822 and 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, in a tale of a harrowing racially–motivated brutality, but also, surprisingly, resounding hope. The novel weaves the stories of a gifted but enslaved 19th-century blacksmith Tom Russell and a floundering Harvard graduate student, Kate Drayton, who is researching the planning of a slave revolt. As Kate follows the blacksmith’s decision to become the weapon maker for the revolt, connected from its inception with the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, Kate finds the events of 1822 may somehow be connected with the dissolution of her own family, as well as with the welfare of the people of the present-day Emanuel AME church who have befriended her. Like E.L. Doctorow’s RAGTIME, A TANGLED MERCY combines historical and fictional characters in a tapestry that captures the rich, and complicated spirit of both nineteenth and twenty-first-century Charleston, with its centuries-old mansions, haunting beauty, cultured sophistication, and tumultuous history.
And now for those books already published:
Joy's first book, Grit and Grace: Portraits of a Woman’s Life (Wheaton Literary Series) (Harold Shaw Publishers, 1997), was a collection of stories, poems and essays which The Chicago Tribune described this way: “Written with much heart and wit, this little gem of a book touches on the ordinary and profound experiences that make up a woman’s life . . . a poignant and satisfying collection . . . funny and sad, inspiring and awfully surprising.”
During this period, life for Joy and her husband, Todd Lake, was becoming increasingly chaotic with two careers, numerous re-locations for Todd’s work, two young biological children and the adoption of a baby girl from China. Joy’s nearly-manic need to ask everyone around her about how they managed–or not–to balance kids and career led to her third book, Working Families: Navigating the Demands and Delights of Marriage, Parenting, and Career (WaterBrook/ Random House, 2007).Publishers Weekly called the book, “refreshing for its social conscience,” and written with “sharp humor and snappy prose.”
In its review of Joy’s fourth book, Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous: Ten Alarming Words of Faith (Paraclete Press, 2007), Publishers Weekly again praised the author: “A professor at Belmont University and a former Baptist chaplain at Harvard University , the author mines her personal history…to illumine and interpret ideas such as…hope. Sometimes wry, occasionally stern, Jordan-Lake, with a touch of Southern gothic sensibility…has a gift for welcoming, lucid and insightful prose….”
Joy’s first novel, Blue Hole Back Home: A Novel, won the 2009 national Christy Award for first novel, and was selected as the 2009 Common Book for Baylor University. Inspired by actual events from her own teenage years, explores the tensions and eventual violence that erupt in a small, all-white Appalachian town when a Sri Lankan family moves in. Ultimately, Blue Hole Back Home is a story not only of the devastating effects of racial hatred and cowardice, but more centrally, a celebration of courage, confrontation and healing. Blue Hole Back Home is increasingly being chosen as classroom and summer reading at various public and private high school, middle schools, colleges and universities.
In fall 2015, Belmont University launched its 125th anniversary history, From Here to Anywhere, which Joy authored--aided by an amazing team of folks who sorted through archives, helped track down facts, sorted through hundreds of pictures.... Thank you, Belmont, for the privilege of working on this story of a university that not survived but thrived against all the odds!
FROM HERE TO ANYWHERE, Belmont University history launches
The Belmont History launched Oct. 1, 2015. Grateful to have been part of this fascinating project and the dedicated team of people who made it happen!