Black Pearls Magazine Interview with Anita Ballard-Jones

Anita NBCC
Intimate Conversation with Anita Ballard-Jones
 
Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down and Jacob’s Eyes. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She was a long time resident of Long Island, New York and resides in North Carolina and loves to visit Florida. She also loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

BPM:  When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I was in my early fifties, not like most writers who say they had been writing for as long as they could remember. My unpublished manuscript, Broken Bond, is a memoir about my young life and relationship with my brother who had special needs. It was completed twenty years ago and it was not written for publication. I just needed a vessel to pour out my soul and to come to terms with the issue of the purpose of life for those individual having serious developmental disabilities. I had lived and worked with special needs children and adults almost all of my life and I was searching for their purpose. By the time I completed this manuscript I was at peace; I felt blessed and had my answers. A few months later, I believed the Lord handed me my gift of writing and I wrote the first one hundred pages of the acclaimed Rehoboth Road in just fourteen hours.

BPM:  Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?
I love to write, but I don’t have a writing routine. I am retired and I am not looking for a career. My greatest joy is pleasing my readers. Sometimes I’ll write a very short story, and other times that short story could be as long as 7,000 words. I don’t push my writing or write outlines; I wait. I guess you could say I wait on the Lord; He sends me pictures and somehow I know it’s going to be another novel. I only create when I’m inspired by my pictures. If I don’t have the inspiration to create, and I want to work, I use the time for refinement and editing.

BPM:  How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? Why or why not?
Yes, after I completed Rehoboth Road, I sent out fifty query letters just to locate an agent and I received fifty rejections. Then, I self-published and sold over three thousand copies. Within that year I signed with a publishing company that never paid my royalties on time, if at all. The one great thing they did was sell my book to Black Expressions Book Club, and I knew I had arrived, even after being contractually cheated on this sale. I found a loophole in the contract and was released from my second book deal and vowed to remain a self-publish author. I told myself that my joy comes from writing and pleasing my fans, and with the proper branding agent and publicist, I could do a very good job marketing myself.

BPM:  Do you ever let the book stew – leave it for months and then come back to it?
Yes, all of my books stewed with the exception of The Dancing Willow Tree. This book is the sequel to Rehoboth Road. I received hundreds of emails from my readers requesting a sequel; many people made suggestions of what they thought should happen. I was inspired, I had my visual images, my fans suggestions, and a few twist in mind; The Dancing Willow Tree was completed in three months.

BPM:  Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change?
Without questioning the Lord, I wish I had received my gift when I was younger, but the Lord knows best. I wonder if I would have appreciated it, would I have earn my lifetime experience badge or if I would have had the time to dedicate to the craft? Sometimes I think, if I could have accomplish writing success back in my earlier life I might have been another Alice Walker or Toni Morrison, not for the fortune, but for the pleasure of knowing something I created bought pleasure to so many people.

BPM:  What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?
I believe the real hurdle is the process of editing. I have hired a professional editor and have used my edit team and there were still problems. Other than the editing process, researching self-publishing and learning all of the aspects of the process are the hardest.

BPM:  What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
Be able to respond positively to constructive criticism. A writer should never believe they are so great that they have nothing to learn about their craft.

BPM:  Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a registered nurse. There were two professions I didn’t want any part of, a medical doctor or a writer. The novels, Little Women, Clarence Darrow and Return of the Native, and the likes, really turned me off during my high school literature classes. I cried through them; I am a pre-baby-boomer who attended George Wingate High School in Brooklyn, New York when the African American student enrollment was only two percent. No one told me about Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin and the others. If you didn’t know about the Harlem Renaissance, you didn’t know to ask and seek it out. I remember standing outside a theater on Manhattan’s Broadway, staring at the marquee and large posters of the play, Porgy and Bess. It was hard to believe these were black people like me, doing what white people did. It seems so funny now, but today’s young people believe they have been robbed of opportunity and I wish I could take them back to my early time and shake them.

I discovered my worth as an individual early in life, having a very successful career and lifetime experiences. I said I didn’t want to be a doctor, but I became a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I managed an interdisciplinary treatment team which included medical doctors and twenty years of report writing was the precursor to my writing profession in retirement. And now I write.

BPM:  Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child.

Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people. Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

BPM:  What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?
This is a book of historical fiction, pre-Civil War (1860). With the exception of my memoir, most of the time I write fiction, but I tend to write in different eras from 1950 through 1990. As mentioned earlier, my inspiration comes in the form of pictures. I have my ideas of what I want to write about, but after a few paragraphs my story will take on its own life. Very often this dictates the era, storyline, characters and location. For example, someone once told me my grandfather walked from northern North Carolina to south central Virginia. I was thinking what it must have been like for a black man to walk alone on a country road around 1900. The next thing I knew I was writing Jacobs Eyes. My grandfather was a short, small framed man, with ebony colored skin and nappy hair, and Jacob was tall, well built, blue eyes, golden hair and a white complexion. The only thing they had in common was that they walked on the road.

BPM:  Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject?
I don’t necessary set out to educate, but my goal is to keep my stories socially clean, historically accurate, entertaining and inspiring. I research even the smallest issue. In my book, Rehoboth Road, I wanted one of my characters to purchase a specific type of car. When I researched the car I found out it had not come out for another five years. In Jacob’ Eyes, I had to learn about growing cotton, the railroad lines that were running in 1860, what shipping lines were sailing. How Lincoln was placed on the ballot, and most of all, documents related to the sale and release of slaves and many other issues. To say the least, I was educated and inspired during the writing of this novel and I hope and pray others will learn from it too.

BPM:  Did you learn anything personal from writing this book?
Yes, first of all I received a history lesson, and then I learned about herbal tea, juju bags secondary railroad cars, Southern myths and much more. Most of all I learn about myself and to appreciate my gift. I had not worked at writing a novel in some time. My pictures were there for me, but I allowed life and circumstances to pull me away from what I really love doing. I have to say thank you to Jacob’s Eyes for reminding me of my gift and to be grateful to my Lord for it.

BPM:  What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
I did give mainstream publishing serious thought, then I remembered my previous experience and I was not willing to lose my literary rights to my work forever. But I am like an abused woman, time will tell.

BPM:  What would you like to accomplish after this book is released?
I just want to keep writing and promoting my work. I love public speaking and traveling, so with the release of this book I will be destination bound.

BPM:  What should readers DO after reading this book?
Just enjoy this book for its historical quality and storyline. This is not just another slave book; this is a book where the slaves win. This is a feel good book that will leave the reader saying, “Yes!” Spread the word: ask their local libraries to order it, ask their school board to place it in their high school libraries, introduce it to historically black colleges and universities, suggest it to book clubs, share the book with a young adult and don’t forget to write me and share their thoughts and feeling.

BPM:  What are your career goals as a writer? Have you accomplished most of them?
I am retired and I write to please my readers. My goal is to continue writing and sell, sell, sell my work. Nothing makes me happier than to have my fans love my work. My goal is to have a well known name in the industry and I have no accomplished that.

BPM:  What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
There are people, other than my family, who appreciate what I have to offer. My family loves me unconditionally. My fans love me and my work; that’s why I always want to give them my very best.

BPM:  What are some of the benefits of being an author that makes it all worthwhile?
Being an author, actor, singer or whatever, it really does not matter. We are all people first. Even if I were a filthy rich author it wouldn’t make a different to me; being a good person is more important. For me, the only benefits of being an author are my personal satisfaction and knowing I have made other people happy. This is my gift, but Dear Lord, I always prayed to be a great singer, but I guess You know what’s best for me, so thank you Lord.

BPM:  What are you the most thankful for now?
I am most thankful for my Lord and Savior, life and good health, family, friends, my gift, fans and a good life. I am truly blessed; I have it all.

BPM:  Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Study and do your research before you decide, and then learn to do as much as you can for yourself.

BPM:  Finish this sentence – “My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors…”
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers and authors because I try to write unforgettable novels that provide teachable moments without an expiration date.”

BPM:  We are here to shine the spotlight on your new book, but what’s next? Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
My long term goal for the next year is to produce my first manuscript, Broken Bond, my memoir, as well as a book of short stories and to continue as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel monthly news magazine, A Better You.

BPM:  How may our readers follow you online?
Email: Anita Ballard Jones
blackdeerbooks@aol.com

Goodreads
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/807519.Anita_Ballard_Jones

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Anita+Ballard+Jones%22

Facebook Fanpage
https://www.facebook.com/Anita-Ballard-Jones-Fan-Page-121616341210058/

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Rehoboth Road by Anita Ballard-Jones

Rehoboth Road
When Rev. Oliver becomes assistant pastor in the small Georgia community of Rehoboth in the early 1950s, everyone agrees it’s a stroke of good fortune. He’s young, he has a beautiful and vivacious wife, and he seems just one to bring new life to both the church and the community. Unfortunately, Rev. Oliver has a little problem: he just can’t seem to get the senior pastor’s daughter, Elizabeth, out of his mind.

The beautiful teenager haunts his every thought until, overcome with lust, he catches her alone and rapes her. Elizabeth is consumed by shame and hides her pregnancy until, finally, she gives birth to a son in a bathroom at her high school. When Elizabeth’s father refuses to believe her story of rape, she becomes determined to hide the father’s identity and raise the child alone.

Rehoboth Road follows Elizabeth, her family, and the Rev. Oliver through the decades that follow as they try to deal with the secrets surrounding the birth. As Elizabeth’s family unravels and Rev. Oliver tries to deal with his guilt, the burden of concealment becomes too much to bear until their secret explodes, marking them forever.

Listen to a dramatic reading from The Rehoboth Road and The Dancing Willow Tree—You are going to love this! Click here today.

Top Customer Reviews

By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers  
Children are a precious gift from God and they should be nurtured and protected. Imagine how you’d feel if you failed to protect your gift from heaven. In REHOBOTH ROAD, we meet the Turners, the Olivers and MaDear. These unforgettable characters tell a story of lost innocence, familial love, Christianity and that old time caring of a community. This story begins in the 1950’s on Rehoboth Road in a rural community just outside Macon, Georgia. And for the next thirty-six years or so, we follow the growth of two families as they deal individually with a secret that works like a cancer as it touches each one of them.

Anita Ballard-Jones uses her excellent storytelling abilities to capture the disposition of the African American culture in rural communities during the 50’s and 60’s. She told a very inspirational and heartrending story. I could not put this one down, as I soaked up the essence of the characters and lived through the pain inflicted because of one man’s sin. There were times I cried because of that pain and other times I rejoiced because of the healing that occurred. REHOBOTH ROAD is a stimulating read and I highly recommend it.
–Reviewed by Brenda M. Lisbon of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

By SilverFox on Amazon.com
In this written testimony about the power of God is a wonderfully told debut novel. From the very beginning, you get to know the characters and whether you want to, or not, it won’t take long before you choose sides After the most brutal of attacks an innocent fifteen year old proves to have greater strength and faith , than those the communities around Rehobath Road hold in reverence. I must have though of a hundred Bible quotes and sayings. As you sow, so shall you reap probably is the most fitting. People make choices, in this world, and it often seems that those who do the worst of deeds go unpunished. You will not be able to put the book down until it comes to its explosive conclusion and I strongly recommend Rehobath Road to anyone who likes powerful stories, especially if you feel that life has not been fair to you. I look forward to reading any future books written by Anita Ballard – Jones. .

By Scwisdom on on Amazon.com
Reading this book gave me a colorful view of life and the social norms in the 1950s (and beyond). As one used to reading contemporary romance novels, this book was an excellent diversion.

Ballard-Jones has done a wonderful job of encapsulating the chain of events on Rehoboth Road over a period of years. While it was easy reading, it had a powerful and poignant message.

I whole-heartedly encourage all readers, regardless of your preferred genre, to read this thought-provoking book and experience it. The vivid portrayal of what fear, denial and lies can do to you, will definitely bring you to your knees! Buy the Book!!!

Purchase Rehoboth Road by Anita Ballard-Jones
Download Link: http://amzn.com/1585711969

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Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones

Jacob's Eyes
Jacob’s Eyes by Anita Ballard-Jones deals with historical racial behavior in a thrilling, fast paced novel.  This book will be available nationwide on January 4, 2016.

In this dark time in our history, two brothers, Jacob and Jackson shared the same loving father, the same mansion home, but were separated by age and the circumstances of life; Jacob, a mulatto slave and Jackson, the sole heir to their father’s plantation. They were mirror images of each other, both tall and having golden hair, blue eyes and creamy white complexion. Jacob had the soul of a black man and Jackson’s soul was only fed by cruelty, possessions and hatred. Once Jacob was free it wasn’t long before he realized that passing for white was a powerful weapon to be used to free his enslaved family and friends, specially his black pearl, Sula who was pregnant with his child.

Nothing could stop him in his quest to reach the safety of Canada before the start of the Civil War, not even murder, assault, thievery or arson. He found great pleasure standing his ground against other white people.

Throughout Jacob’s triumphs, Brother Jackson was in hot pursuit of him, but little did Jackson know revenge was not in his favor. Jackson’s attempt to kill Jacob would end up causing him more inescapable pain than he could ever have imagined; pain that was a thousand times worse than the pain he allowed his overseers to inflicted on his slaves; pain that could not be undone.

Open for Pre-Orders. This item will be available on January 4, 2016
Available formats: epub,  mobi,  pdf,  rtf,  pdb,   txt,  or html
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Meet the Author
Anita Ballard-Jones is the acclaimed author of the novels, Rehoboth Road, The Dancing Willow Tree and Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down, Jacob’s Eyes. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and a graduate of C.W. Post, at Long Island University. She is retired from New York State’s Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Office where she worked as a Treatment Team Leader. She is a long time resident of North Carolina and loves to visit Florida. She loves hearing from her individual fans, as well as book clubs.

Jupiter’s Corner by Anita Ballard-Jones

Jupiter's Corner

Ninety eight year old, Mrs. Anna Mae Lang decided to reveal to her great great granddaughter the details of what happened to the Negro community of Jupiter’s Corner, in Savannah, Georgia and how it related to the tragic death of her husband, Hugh. With this revelation she made the decision that would change the lives of her immediate family forever.

A compelling short story about Hugh Lang and his discovery of the small community of Jupiter’s Corner. He referred to it as a ‘safe place’; a place located east of Savannah, Georgia, where a Negro family felt safe from the oppression of racism in 1927. Here he married Anna Mae Bacon, they worshiped together at the New Hope Baptist Church, they raised their children, and they purchased land to add to their small spread.

Fast forward to 2010 and Hugh is now buried in the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery. Anna Mae is 98 years old and of sound mind. She has held a secret for more than fifty years and decided to share it with her great great granddaughter. By the end of her story she makes a decision that will change the lives of her entire family.

Novella/Short Story.  African American  Historical Fiction
Order: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Anita72543

JUPITER’S CORNER, the ebook is currently available for $0.99 at all ebook retailers except Amazon, but you will be able to receive your free copy by simply sharing the posted information about my latest novel, JACOB’S EYES on your Facebook feed and then messaging me prior to going to Smashwords to order. The best marketing tool is ‘word of mouth’.

Inbox me on Facebook or email me here: blackdeerbooks@aol.com  and I will give you a copy of Jupiter’s Corner for helping me spread the word about Jacob’s Eyes!

To preview 20% of Jupiter’s Corner go to Smashwords.com at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/584409


Jupiter’s Corner and Jacob’s Eyes will be available on Amazon beginning January 4, 2016.  Now Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

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Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down by Anita Ballard-Jones

Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down
Josey was pregnant, struggling to overcome her cocaine addiction, and determined her baby would not be born an addict like her second daughter, Kelly. After three attempts to clean up, Sabur, Josey’s husband continued offering her an endless supply of cocaine to keep her under his control.

Finally, Josey ran away, and with the help of Sabur’s mother, Sadie, she entered a long term rehabilitation facility and vowed she would never return to her husband. The only problem was that Sabur was a powerful and anonymous drug financier, and Josey loved him more than she feared him. Did Josey want what Sadie wanted for her and their children? Did she just want Sabur to love her and change their way of life, or did she have a choice?

Dr. Pearson, Josey’s psychologist at the Springwood Rehabilitation Center, had no knowledge of Josey’s husband’s involvement in her repeated relapses. He had Josey seek the underlying cause of her substance abuse by having her return to her early years, reliving her past, and analyzing her old memories. Josey begins thinking back to her childhood, to when the horrors began; to a time when she and her brothers and sister had to fight most of their young lives for survival while their parents were strung out on heroin; to a time when their parents had turned their apartment in a Brooklyn, New York housing project into a junkie’s hangout.

Top Customer Reviews

By Charlie Lomax, Turning Pages Book Club  
The members of Turning Pages Book Club, all agree that before we pass judgement we must first walk in Josie’s shoes.

Josie, who is pregnant and addicted to cocaine, and she already has two other children being raised by her mother-in-law (Sadie). Josie, like many other women is addicted to her husband, and drugs, which he supplied to her. Is her husband Sabur, the bad guy or is he just a control freak that thinks that the only way he can control his wife is through feeding her drugs? Josie’s continuous love for Sabur even when she knows that he is the cause of her addiction and when her entire life has already been shrouded in drug addiction, since both of her parents were drug addicted most of her life.

Josie, tells this story while in drug rehabilitation again, after how many times, to finally kick her addiction and regain control over her life; because she does not want to have her child whom she is 3 months pregnant with addicted to drugs,also.

This story was very touching for many of us because we have seen the movies, read the story or know of a real life situation that fits this touching story-line.

We applaud Josie for her courage,her mother-in-law(Sadie) who was every one’s favorite; for her encouragement, for her devotion and the fierceness she demonstrated against her own son who is her only child. Sadie is celebrated for her unwavering love for Josie and her grandchildren throughout the entire story.

This is a very well written book about overcoming addictions and being empowered to challenge life’s hardships.

By Royal Ebony Readers, Reviewer: Tomi H.
Anita Ballard-Jones does it again. Be prepared to take an emotional roller-coaster ride with this novel. It will play over and over again in your mind long after you finish reading it. Our book club members could hardly wait to discuss it.

A very pregnant, Josey Whitman Taylor had fallen down several times. Finally she stood up again, but not without the help of her mother in law, Sadie, a private investigator, and her psychologist, Dr. Pearson. Sadie did everything she could to keep Josey away from her son, Sabur. He was a doctor of psychology, but he wasn’t the main cause of Josey’s down fall; he was the main contributor of the cocaine she craved. He was the cause of his daughter being born an addict and he continued to entice Josey with coke during her current pregnancy.

During Josey’s drug rehab treatment, Dr. Pearson had her go back into her past. During these sessions he discovered that the Whitman family had been faced with the insurmountable consequences of drug addiction; child abuse, neglect and endangerment, HIV/AIDS, death, poverty and psychosis. Eventually, one by one, they all fell down against the demands and challenges of everyday living. A few triumphed, but not without falling down first, and not without having narcotic to numb the pain.

We found this novel to be a collector’s item; one you may enjoy reading more than once. This book would be a blockbuster hit if made into a movie. We all agreed this was a truly unique and thought provoking read.

By Anu Shaheed Amazon VINE VOICE Reviewer
Wow, this book had me in complete awe, definitely different type of story-line.  Josey and her siblings just been through it all.  At times I had to put down…such a emotional roller-coaster. If I could give this book 20 stars I would.  Great author!  Her work just gets better and better, great job and well written story from Anita Ballard Jones.

By Carolyn McCray, Sister-In-Spirit Bookclub Reviewer
Another compelling story by Ms. Ballard Jones. Our book club read this book for our October meeting. It was an exciting book as are her other two books – especially “Rehoboth Road” and “The Weeping Willow”. In this book, Josey is a person that I loved and hated. This book brought tears to my eyes at times. I really could identify with her mother-in-law Sadie. I could not understand how the 2 most educated people in the book could be the most corrupt and vicious animals. Sadie realized that she had to make a choice between her grand-children’s future and her relationship with her only son. She chose to support Josey to get away from her son who was responsible for her drug addiction.

Anita did not disappoint in any way with this book and also was available to call in for our book club meeting. She told us that the book was inspired by a true story. Even though many conditions are covered in this book such as drug additions, depression, HIV/AIDS, infant drug addictions, and even murder; I was more impressed by the support that Sadie provided for Josey and her grandchildren. Everything Sadie did was to protect Josey from her son even though Josey had been through rehab about 5 times and continued to return to Sabur each time. That is dedication and stick-to-it-ness.

Please read these 3 books and support Anita. You will not be disappointed. The first 2 are sequels and this one is her latest. I ranked it #2 of the 3 with Rehoboth Road taking #1. We rated it 4.5 gold on a 4 point scale.

Purchase Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Down  by Anita Ballard-Jones
Link: http://amzn.com/0972945539

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Featured

Contact Anita Ballard-Jones

Books by Anita Ballard-Jone
Please feel free to e-mail Anita if you or your organization would like her to appear on your program. Arrangement may be made with her to attend your bookclub meeting, in person if local or via telephone. Events will be posted on her Facebook Fanpage.

Anita is available for book club chats and online virtual tours. Please write Anita with any questions or comments at: aballardjo@aol.com

Email Anita Ballard Jones
blackdeerbooks@aol.com

Goodreads
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/807519.Anita_Ballard_Jones

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Anita+Ballard+Jones%22

Facebook Fanpage
https://www.facebook.com/Anita-Ballard-Jones-Fan-Page-121616341210058/

The Dancing Willow Tree by Anita Ballard-Jones

The Dancing Willow Tree by Anita Ballard-Jones
The sequel to the acclaimed novel, Rehoboth Road

In 1950, fifteen year old Elizabeth Turner was raped by Reverend Oliver, the assistant pastor of her father’s church. After a hidden pregnancy she gave birth to her son, Johnny. Reverend Turner, Elizabeth’s father refused to believe her story of being raped and disowned her and her baby. He forced Elizabeth and his wife, Loretha to hide the identity of the baby’s father, and live the next thirty six years with lies and secrets.

In 1986, Reverend Oliver was forced to confess to his family as well as the Turner family, but before he could leave Rehoboth he became seriously ill. The ripple effects of his confession touched everyone causing them to experience an array of physical and emotional reactions.

Thea, Reverend Oliver’s wife, could not escape the guilt and shame she was feeling. She watched painfully as her son, Malcolm tried to forge a relationship with his brother, Johnny, and she never knew Malcolm was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. Thea’s most plaguing dilemma had to do with her husband. Her only consolation was an old weeping willow tree in her front yard where she would watch its graceful branches dance on the mild summer breezes. Thea called it her ‘dancing willow tree’, and she would sit under it daily to pray and receive guidance from the Lord. She knew if her husband was to be saved she had to give him a life threatening ultimatum.

Top Customer Reviews

Anita Ballard-Jones has the ability to pull you into her stories and keep you captivated until the last page. Another brilliantly crafted novel.
–J. J. Michael, bestselling Karibu author of, It’s Not Over Yet  and Life is Never As It Seems

By Deonna J. Mcclendon on Amazon
I am very pleased with the sequel. I was so disappointed with the way the first book ended. This second book put everything in perspective. The characters were alive and very moving. I felt like I was right there with them. The best thing is you see how a wrong can be made right no matter how bad it is. Forgiveness is the best medicine.

By Lilly Engleman on Amazon
This is one of my favorite books. I waited so long for it to become available. I stayed up all night reading it. Ms Jones gives all families in tumult hope. I was happy the way the book ended but do hope she will write a sequel. I would like to follow the families into the third generation. This is one of those special books that one hopes will never end.

By Amazon Customer
This book picks up with the lives from Rehoboth Road. Everyone is older now and things really start to change. The pastor has to answer for his sins from his childhood; the father has to answer to the abandonment of his child; a son has to answer for his sordid lifestyle and all of this is centered around a heinous act. This story line shows us that all actions have repercussions that sometimes last a lifetime. Although bad things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people, it’s the good that comes from it that keeps the balance in the world.

By Sistah Social Butterfly on Amazon
This book was very inspirational. It showed the forgiveness and the hurt shared by the characters. It felt like the story was real to me.  I have her new book and can’t wait to read it.  Ms Ballard-Jones had me asking myself do I know these people and what church did they belong to. Truly a good read and would highly recommend this book to all.

Purchase The Dancing Willow Tree by Anita Ballard-Jones
Link: http://amzn.com/0972945520

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Sankofa Literary Society Interview

Anita Ballard-Jones Interview
Recently Ella Curry, CEO of EDC Creations (www.edc-creations.com) and founder of the Sankofa Literary Society had the opportunity to talk with the author of book The Dancing Willow Tree, Anita Ballard-Jones.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: I guess I am one of those authors who broke the mold. From my youth until my early fifties, I never though of becoming a writer, except that I wanted to write a memoir about life with my brother who was developmentally disabled. Then, I believe it was the Lord’s will that I write Rehoboth Road . Suddenly I was hooked on writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Answer: I wrote the first 100 pages of Rehoboth Road in one night. Then, I completed the remainder of the novel over several years. I was not a serious writer and only worked on the manuscript sporadically. When I retired, I competed the manuscript in a few months. I completed the first draft of The Dancing Willow Tree in six months, but I worked on it at least eight hours a day. My third unpublished manuscript, Ring Around The Roses, was written in one year.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Answer: I’m retired, so I can write anytime I want. Most of the time I write in the evening, but I only write new material when I’m inspired. There are two parts to my work schedule, the creative and the corrective (editing). If I’m not inspired to be creative, I never write. I use this time to review what I have already written and do as much editing as I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Answer: Working in a noisy environment. I like having the television or radio on. I really don’t like to be interrupted by family, but I like the family to go about their normal business around me. I don’t like to isolate myself in my office either. My family seems to understand when I’m working and they just move around me. I’ll work at the kitchen table or with my laptop in then living room or sunroom. I can tune out all the noise, but can spike to alertness if I’m needed. My creativity is stifled when I’m in a quiet place.

How do books get published?
Answer: I could write a book on ‘How to Get Published’. So let’s just speak about getting published. There are two ways to get published. You are lucky or unlucky 🙂 to be picked up by a mainstream publishing company. Unless you are a well known personality, your chances of being offered a lucrative contract are almost non existent. Most likely, if you are offered a contract, your advance will be under $2,000 and your royalty on the retail price of your book will be between 6 to 10 %. Your marketing budget will be zero or close to it, but worst of all, you will have signed the rights to your baby away for X period of years. If you think writing your novel was difficult, then get prepared to give up the next year of your life to market your book at your expense, and don’t quit your day job. Unless you are a best selling author, you will cry when you see your royalty check, because you know your book sold in the thousands; those low royalty percentages really hurt your pocket

The other way to get published is self publishing. You, the author can do for yourself what the mainstream publishing houses will do for you. Until you make that name for yourself and are willing to sign away the rights to your work, that lucrative contract will not come your way. After the cost of the book production and distribution, you will at lease have 25 to 30% profit on the retail price of each book. You will finance your own distribution and marketing expenses, but you will reap the benefits of your promotions and everything is tax deductible. Except for professional editing, you can cut the cost of producing you novel by learning to do some things for yourself:

-Becoming a license publisher. (Select a name for your company and go down to your local town hall and pay a small fee for a license and you are in business. Open a small business bank account.)

-Obtain ISBN numbers

-Obtain a barcode for each ISBN number when you need to use one.

-Obtaining a copyright

-Register your novel with the Library of Congress and obtain a Library of Congress Control Number

-Design your book cover

-Design your book interior and typeset your novel.

-Once your book is published register it with Bowker’s ‘Books In Print’

There are many books on the market, but I’ve found “SELF-PUBLISHING by Tom & Marilyn Ross to be the most informative.

I have been mainstream published and self-published, and I prefer to be a self-published author. I would not have been so eager to take this position a few years ago, but the Internet has made it possible for self-published authors to have great success, and book stores are more willing to carry self-published books in their stores.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Answer: From life and observation. Sometimes I hear or see a situation and I will make a note. I don’t use outlines. I only write when I’m inspired around a particular theme. Once my characters are developed they seem to take on a life of their own; this is more likely when my novel is inspired by a true life incidents.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Answer: Early fifties. I wrote a memoir titled, BROKEN BOND. I have not published it yet. It’s a personal look into my life and I’m not ready to share it with my reader.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Answer: I love to fish; play the computer game, NEED FOR SPEED; go to the movies, and read, but I don’t like to read as much as I did before I became an author. It seems I do more book editing and that slows down my reading.

What does your family think of your writing?
Answer: They are very supportive and are always telling me about things I should write about.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Answer: When I was in high school (back in the late 60s), I remember telling myself there were two things I never wanted to be in life, a doctor and a writer. I was never a doctor, but I was a Treatment Team Leader, whereas I supervised doctors as a hospital administrator, and then I became an author. So I would say the most surprising thing I learned was that I could write. When my fans wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed my novel, I felt authenticated as an author.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Answer: I have five published books. I also have three completed manuscripts, BROKEN BOND (my memoir), RING AROUND THE ROSES ( a novel inspired by a true story about six inner city children who raised themselves because their parents were drug addicts), and a series of short stories based on my personal experiences and observations.

REHOBOTH ROAD and THE DANCING WILLOW TREE are currently my favorite, however, as soon as I publish my manuscript, RING AROUND THE ROSES I plan to submit it for consideration for a PULITZER PRIZE. I was more inspired to write this novel than I was when I wrote REHOBOTH ROAD . Ignorance prevented me from submitting REHOBOTH ROAD to the Pulitzer Foundation.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Answer: Be inspired when writing. Be your best critic. Write, re-write, re-write, re-write, re-write, etc. When you are inspired to write, then write. Don’t stop to correct your writing because you will loose your trend of thought. When your inspiration is gone, then correct what you have written.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Answer: Yes. My readers write me all the time and I love it. Most of the time I receive letters of praise, and there are a few who point out issues. Some of the issues are helpful and constructive. I try to respond to everyone within twenty-four hours

Thank you Anita for taking time to visit with the Sankofa Literary Society. As always it was a pleasure speaking with you. We look forward to seeing you at the top!

Warmest regards,
Ella Curry,
President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder