Guest Writer: Author of “Henrietha” – Joyce M. Johnson

What is Henrietha about?

The book comprising two (2) novellas ‘Waiting For The World To Change’ and ‘Henrietha’   is a work of ‘creative fiction’  in that it derives from experiences but is layered over fiction to resemble virtual reality. The stories centre around the human spirit in trying times. The essence is borne through the friendship of Anita Kingsley a Jamaican-Canadian cleaning woman and Susan Ottawa.  (WFTWTC) ‘Waiting For The World To Change’ is a revelatory piece with main character Anita, who ‘airs the dirty laundry’ of her white employees in much the same mode as did the helpers in the Help’ by K.Stockett. It is reminiscent of ‘the Help’ but is centred around Canadian effects as experienced by Anita who fleshes out by the end of the novella as a spiritualist who connects with the ‘other world.’ Anita’s friend Susan is a young, successful black lawyer who is atheist, believing only in the power of self and perhaps the influence of the late ‘great’ Johnny Cochrane who had been her inspiration while in Law School; the OJ Simpson trial was her classroom with JC at the head like her personal beacon. She incants the  Cochrane spirit while handling her own high profile murder case.

The piece thus is so much more than ‘the Help’ with the engaging and unmitigated Anita whose accounts – for all- , by all means speak an agenda for a new order : in the world she cleans and that she cleans for all to have better living….especially as it’s supported by her forbears..

The novella “Henrietha’ deals with a lot of abuse.Jamaican-born Henrietha Browne is a grown woman who has lived a long life of abuse. Fate draws Henrietha together with Joanna White a white Canadian writer with interest in the struggles and strength of black women. Joanna  herself is an abuse survivor at the hands of a cheating husband…

What inspired the story of Henrietha?

Henrietha was inspired by life itself…the questions we ask ourselves when it comes to equality between the sexes and the races, a sense of justice, the sense of love and hate, the paradigm in the Being or not of God, challenges that overwhelm, the prevailing power of perseverance and the promise in victory. These common universal considerations urged the pen to record things that need to be said for they seem to have gone unnoticed.

Is it based on true events?
Yes.

What are the religious or theological aspects of your work?

Theology comes into play between Anita and Susan who are polar opposites where God is concerned; Susan is an atheist while Anita isn’t.

What sort of paranormal phenomenon did you explore in Henrietha?

Channeling through Anita as a medium – she connects with the otherworld where she communes with ancestors.

Will there be more based on Henrietha?

Yes.

What are you writing now?

The follow up to Henrietha – Part Two

Can you tell me about your experience creating an on stage adaptation of your work?

The work was originally entitled “In Search of Happiness” when it came to the local stage to a great reception. It was later renamed “Henrietha.’

How did you begin writing and get published?

I began when I realized that the powerful story needed to be told. After much to-do, it was then published by FriesenPress,Vancouver(2011).

 

Author Bio – Joyce M. Johnson

Joyce M Johnson was born in Jamaica where she spent her formative years. She attended high school and college in Canada which she has called home for over forty (40) years now. After graduating from college, her long successful career began at Dover Elevator where she worked in main frame computing as Operator and Programmer. She ventured into entrepreneurship as Owner of Dove Courier Messenger Service and later as Owner/CEO of Johnson Production which she operates with a socially sensitive mandate around its creative essence.

Joyce studied creative writing at Seneca College, Toronto and has written newspaper articles for the “Uprising International Newspaper”. She has had her written material aired on CBC, Toronto.

The years of living in Canada have expanded Joyce’s social consciousness through inexorable urges to share in the ‘people processes’ that affect the dynamics of society. Undoubtedly her generous spirit of introspection along with  outward influences have led Joyce’s  engagement in social dialoguing at the ‘community level’. Shaped in part by her childhood in Jamaica, her sensibility reflects a combined effect – an ‘island past’ betrothed to a continental existence. It is indeed her peculiar ‘hybrid reality’ that Joyce employs to produce what she hopes to be appreciated as ‘universal accounts of the human condition’.

Her first novel is “Henrietha”. Joyce says “This is an exciting beginning to my writing career, because I do feel this is where my calling lies. I did a stage adaptation of “Henrietha” formerly “In Search of happiness” – with stagings at 3 Toronto locations: The Poor Alex Theater, The Robert Gill Theater at the University of Toronto and Haven’s Banquet Hall. The play, fetched overwhelmingly positive reviews from its audiences: – ‘Powerful storyline!’; ‘This story rocks….’; ‘..should be staged in the schools’; ‘Should be a screenplay..’ The audio-script has been aired in part on CBC radio.

“Henrietha” over two novellas “Waiting For The World To Change” and  ” Henrietha”  evokes the transcendence of cosmic influences that inhabit all people. It is  her ‘personal treatment of a core of social issues that keep cropping up all over the planet’”

Joyce is currently composing a sequel to “Henrietha” amongst other literary compositions which include an anthology of poems. Her senses are trained on her experiences and for as long as she can live them her scribal sway and sociological suasion will her to record them as eye-opening reads.

 

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