Return to Your First Love: Interview with Christian Self-Help Author Teresa R. Jones

Teresa Jones is the author of the newly released book, Return to Your First Love. Teresa is a writer for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA), which publishes the award-winning Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT). Teresa is a member of Toastmasters International and the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE). Teresa is a faithful member of the Apostolic Faith Church, where she serves as a prayer counselor for the Prayer Line Ministry. You can visit Teresa’s website at www.teresarjones.com. You can contact Teresa at teresa.jones@revelation2-4.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Teresa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m a native of Chicago, where I have lived all my life. I have been married for 16 years to my husband, Alex, and we have two children. I have worked for the government for over 20 years. I have been writing for over 10 years.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Return to Your First Love is my life story and my journey to seek an intimate relationship with God. On my life journey, I discover that there are hurdles of distractions, rejections, persecutions, and hurts. Others have positioned most of the hurdles, but I also have placed them in my path because of sin in my life. As I am steered back on course by the leading of the almighty loving Father, I find forgiveness, compassion, blessings, and joy.

My story begins in the Southside of Chicago, in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Woodlawn is an area of the city where poverty, destruction, and despair are prevalent. To add to my troubles, I’m a member of a dysfunctional family. My father often neglected his family responsibilities for gambling, and other women. While growing up my problems intensify with a tumultuous relationship with mother. In the midst of pain and strife, I become aware that God is extending His loving hand towards me, and comforts me through the ordeal. I find peace in the midst of storm as I draw nigh unto Him.

As I come into adulthood, I don’t have the same struggles I had as a child. However, there is a new set waiting for me in this new season of my life. The new battles are men, friends, employers and even my siblings. I exhaust a lot of precious time and energy fighting the wrong battles. There is a conflict between my spirit and my flesh. I adopt a part-time relationship with God to spend time with the world. My relationship with God still exists, but I have lost the zeal I had as a child, along with my childlike faith. Unbeknownst to me, I have also lost my joy and have sunk into a depression. Growing up, I often had people to ask me, “Why do you smile so much?” My smile, along with my peace, was replaced with sadness and chronic crying.

By age 27, it felt as though everything that could go wrong in my life was. There were struggles with my finances, my employment and with my relationships. No longer did I feel I was succeeding, but failing. It appeared as though my life was on a downward spiral. It was at this point that I came to myself. Events of my life played out through my mind as I knelt down on the floor at the foot of my bed. I thought to myself, “I have done things my way long enough, let me try it God’s way.” It was at this point that my life made took a turn for my good. There have been other challenges, trials and tribulations along the way, but I have stayed the course. I’m back with my first love.

What kind of research was involved in writing Return to Your First Love?

I researched the Bible to find passages of scripture to support my arguments, and to show parallels of events that have occurred in my life. I want to demonstrate that God’s Word is true.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

The ride to getting a book published is not bumpy. It is more like trying to climb a mountain with your bare hands. I would love to meet someone who has had the smooth sailing experience.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It took six months to release the book.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I don’t have an agent. I believe it is easier to get published if you do have one. It is difficult, but not impossible to get published without an agent. I’m proof of that.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I do. I plan to elaborate on topics covered in Return to Your First Love, such as marriage and family dysfunction.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

I usually like to write in the comfort of my bedroom. I take a journal or pamphlet and listen to Christian music to put me in a rhythm to write.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

If money were no object, my book would be mandatory reading for every young woman starting high school or college. I believe young women will give more thought to their futures after reading my story.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I believe self-promotion is very important, because your audience is ultimately buying a piece of you. Readers have millions of books to choose from on the market. They want to know, why your book is different from all the others.

I participated in my first offline book signing back in August. I sold a number of copies, which was great. I have another speaking engagement and book signing scheduled in November at the 17th Sexual & Relational Healing Retreat, presented by Labourers for Christ Ministries (www.labourers-for-Christ.org). I have utilized email blasts, for the most part, which has cost me a few hundred dollars. This method can get quite expensive. I have a website and a trailer to promote the book (www.revelation2-4.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OQzT0eQqk4).

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

Return to Your First Love is my first published book and finding a publisher has been an arduous process. I started seeking a publisher two years ago while I was working towards bringing the project to completion. Since that time, I have received a stream of rejection letters until recently. Considering the large number of submissions publishers receive regularly, I understand why they must have a process of elimination when deciding on which books to publish (which usually results in them going with more experienced and accomplished authors). However, I believe that some of the best books never come to fruition because of the industry’s reluctance to recruit new authors. With that said, “new author” does not necessarily mean that the author has no writing experience.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

I am a woman of faith, and I believe that whatever God wants to do through you will come to pass, if you don’t give up. The obstacles are there to see how bad you want it. That is why so many people settle for the mundane, because it is easier to obtain. The publishing process is not for the faint at heart. The experience can be daunting at times. Therefore, you must be tenacious. If you have a story to tell, and the world needs to hear it, press on in faith.

Thank you for your interview, Teresa. I wish you much success!

Thank you! I hope the book blesses everyone!
Powered by Blogger.