Ever since my daughter Teeghan’s first Christmas, I’ve created a Big Book-Box to tuck under our tree for her. It’s filled with teachable stuff, everything from books and games to musical instruments and a globe.
She’s a high school senior now. And I’m still at it.
New this year, though: Mama’s Book Box. Yes. For. Moi.
I’m not opting for anything educational, however. I’m purposely avoiding my usual work-research fare and favorite self-help gurus. I’m reaching for sheer entertainment.
Raleigh contemporary romance author Joy Avery has some good choices. Avery’s books, she promises, are packed with “real characters with real journeys and real good love.”
All the books except one are set in North Carolina, so I can expect to feel right at home.
Avery’s latest novel, “A Gentleman’s Agreement,” hit three Amazon Best Sellers lists since its October release, Avery said. The book tells a tale of “falling in love with your boss,” she said, echoing its tagline: “When it comes to love, all deals are off.”
Later this month, Avery will release her seventh book, a novella called “The Night Before Christian.” It’s a second-chance-at-love story about a couple who meet again at a floral design studio.
“It’s a Christmas romance,” said Avery, 39, who self-publishes her books and foresees starting her own publishing company one day.
In January 2014, the full-time customer service assistant, wife and mother debuted her first novel, “Smoke in the Citi,” a novel about a couple reunited after the man left his would-be bride at the altar.
Four titles followed, including the first two books in Avery’s “Indigo Falls” series of five planned novels.
Although Avery is relatively new to the publishing block, she’s been writing ever since she could.
“I wrote my first children’s book in colored pencils and illustrated it with stick figures,” Avery said.
She quickly researched publishing companies. “And I sent it off!”
Of course, Avery chuckled, the rejection letter came. It was kind, she quipped.
She eventually switched from children’s books to general fiction. Ultimately, “I stumbled into a romance novel, and I knew then that’s what I wanted to write,” she said. “I love how the characters met, or second-chance love stories where I watch their journey to get back together. And the happily-ever-after is something I always enjoy.”
Raleigh author Jackie D and Avery met through work and built a friendship over writing.
“But I didn’t know when I wrote my first book, Joy already had one published. She hadn’t said anything about it at all,” Jackie D said. “Then she gave me that push I needed.”
Vice versa, too.
From 2010-2012, Jackie D, crediting a former Enloe High School English teacher for the confidence she found in her own pen, published three urban fiction novels with Life Changing Books. She’s now writing – with plans to self-publish – her fourth book, “Burned: Chronicles of a Woman,” a book of short stories about the lives of various women.
“We’ve supported and helped each other fulfill our dreams in writing,” Jackie D said of Avery. “Joy has always said, ‘I’ve got to strike while the iron is hot,’ and she is.”