Author Spotlight: Joy Williams Author of Olivia and the Land of The Extra-Ordinary

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Joy Williams is the author of “Olivia and the Land of The Extra-Ordinary” a children’s chapter book. Williams is a native of Baton Rouge, LA, and the founder of the mentoring program, Daughters of Royalty. Below Joy shares how her love for her daughter shined light on a need for diversity in mainstream media images.
Tell us a little about  “Olivia and the Land of The Extra-Ordinary”.
Before explaining my book, I thought it would be nice to share the story of a time when I was in middle school. A loooooong time ago,( as my daughter Jasmine would probably say) all the girls wore this popular hairstyle called the “get it girl”. If you weren’t “rockin” that hairstyle, you were not the “IT” girl. Thinking back though, it was nothing more than a ponytail to the side with a gold ponytail holder. But what made it stand out was that you had to wear weave to make it just right. It was the weave that gave it the perfect curl. I wanted it so bad. I came home and told my mama that I had to have that style. Her response was, “Okay, fine Joy”. I was excited. We went to the hair store, purchased the hair clip, and the next aisle was where the hair was, but my mama kept walking. Her response was, “If you didn’t grow it you, you are not wearing it.” I was so mad; now I would not be in style. I refused to wear an imitation “get it girl”. Yes my hair was long, past my shoulders long, but everybody else had weave, so I wanted it too. Besides, everyone knows, it’s  not the “real” thing without the hair weave. It wasn’t until years later, I realized that I was so busy trying to alter my image to fit in to what the style was, that I didn’t realize that I could have made my own definition of a “get it girl” rather than trying to fit into someone else’s definition of one.
About my book:
Olivia is a 7 year old girl that loves shimmer, crowns, and gowns! She loves to play dress up and believe she is the princess her mother has always told her she was anyway.  However, like many other kids (and adults) wanting to fit in, we sometimes allow others to say who we are or can be. When Olivia begins a new school, in an attempt to make friends, she lets them know she is the amazing Princess Olivia. Unfortunately, there’s one problem. Olivia wears glasses, and EVERYBODY knows, princesses do not wear glasses. Olivia listens and believes what her classmates tell her, but one day, an accidental journey leads her to a land much different from the one she knows. While trying to find her way home, she meets a furry friend who agrees to help her find her way home. As they set out on their journey,  they meet other girls that also deal with their own complexes. As the girls ban together to overcome their own obstacles and help Olivia find her way home, they realize that being different isn’t so bad at all, it’s Extra-Ordinary.
What inspired your book?
My daughter Lauren inspired me to write this book. Lauren loves princesses and dressing up to pretend she is one of the Disney princesses. One night  I was getting her ready for bed, and she tells me “Mama, I want to be a princess.” Like what any other parent would say, I said, “Baby you are a princess.” Her response was quick, “No, I’m not mama; princesses don’t wear glasses.” When I saw the look on her face and her tears,  I knew she was serious. I knew it was then that me merely telling her was not going to work. She needed to see a book like her, so thats what I did. I wrote a book.
How old is your daughter now and did the book help change her mindset?
Lauren is now 8 years old and full of life. Although we still have our girly girl blues, she now realizes that she can be whatever she wants. She just has to believe in herself first. Everyone else will follow along.
How long did it take to write it?
When I started this book writing journey, Lauren was four. I was also preparing to begin law school and coping with a father who was fighting cancer at the time. Oh yes, and let’s not forget planning a wedding which also brought me another beautiful baby girl. So after many writer’s block moments and life events, it took me about three years to get it completed, which turned out perfect, since it is now a chapter book.
Will there be more Olivia books to come?
Yes, most definitely, and not just Olivia books either. Currently I am working on a coloring book and turning my chapter book into a picture book. I have also begun writing another book though, unrelated to Olivia at the moment, but don’t fret, my hopes are to turn Olivia into a book series of some sort.
Stay in touch:
You can follow me on IG: @iamjoywilliams
Twitter: @joylovestowrite
Facebook: Joy Williams, Author
For bookings or to purchase my book you can log on to my site at http:joydwilliams.net.
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