Jane Efua Asamoah is the author of the new children’s book; My Mommy’s Name Is Mommy. She enjoys writing in her journal about her unique yet seemingly ordinary encounters with God and people. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from University of Ghana and her master’s degree in social work from University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, and has lived most of her adult life in the United States of America. A full time mom, she currently lives in Roanoke with her husband and her three precious boys. She serves in her community as a children’s leader in Bible Study Fellowship.
She sees it as a great joy and honor to partner with other believers in leading children in the ways of Jesus. Jesus commissioned believers to make disciples and she believes that begins in our homes. Parents can plant the truth of God’s Word in their children’s minds by reading the Bible with them, living out their own love for God in word and deed and taking them to church where others do the same. But only the Holy Spirit can access the heart and bring about the fruit parents desire to see grow in their children.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I have always enjoyed writing in my journal about my life experiences. I’m a shy person by nature so speaking can sometimes be difficult for me. I express my thoughts better in writing (at least that’s what I think…lol). Even though I love to write, I never dreamed of publishing a book. It wasn’t even one of the things that crossed my mind as a kid when I got asked what I wanted to be when I grow up.
The year 2016 was when I had my “aha moment” with God. He put me on a quest to know Him and I started doing a whole lot of writing in my personal devotional journal.
During that time, I used to wake up in the middle of the night just to write something He lays on my heart. There were times that I started questioning if that was even normal but God used a dear friend, Christina to let me know that what I was experiencing was all Him.
Christina and I were in the same Women’s Bible Study and one time, out of nowhere, she just asked me if I’ve been writing and I said yes. You should have imagined the look on my face. I was so surprised because I had not shared my sudden wake ups in the middle of the night with her or anybody in the group. God used her to encourage me a great deal on that day. She said to me, “I can see a little girl who is holding God’s Hand and walking side by side with Him one step at a time.” Then she added, “Keep writing. God is going to use it someday to bless others.”
What excites me the most about writing is being able to share my books with this generation and others after them. I’m not sure if you count marketing as part of writing but that’s the part that frustrates me the most because I don’t like to convince people to like me or like what I write.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I have written two children’s books. My first one was published earlier this year in March while the second book, God’s Unblinkable Eyes was published just last month. God’s Unblinkable Eyes is about an inquisitive seven-year-old boy who asks his mom if he could have a staring contest with God. His mom could have easily brushed him off or said the obvious answer, “No, you cannot do that because God is a spirit.” Instead of a simple leave me alone kind of answer, mom sees it as a teachable moment for her to tell her son about the different things God uses His eyes for.
It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, Target online and wherever books are sold online.
3) What projects are you currently working on?
My third children’s book and a devotional for adults.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
When people I don’t know personally meet me and they tell me that they read my book and it opened up an opportunity for them to talk more about God with their children, it’s like I just won a gold medal.
At my very first book signing, I had a local news editor show up and got featured in the local newspaper. That was a great joy!
In the near future, I’d like to also start a Kids Bible Drive. I plan to collect new and used Children’s Bibles, Story Book Bibles, and faith filled Children’s Books from individuals, churches, groups and organizations both local and beyond. There is a group of women in Ghana, West Africa (that’s where I’m originally from) who are passionate about teaching their children the stories in the Bible but lack the resources to be able to do this effectively so that’ll be a great blessing to them.
Also, the issue of spiritual child neglect among Christian parents has been very heavy on my heart. I can envision myself holding workshops and conferences to speak more about it. I feel like God made me aware of my own spiritual neglect towards my children in order to use me to encourage other parents.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Generally, I’ve had good support. I’ve not really had a lot of issues with rejection. My family, friends, community have all been very encouraging and supportive. I mean, let’s face it. There’ll always be those individuals who you would expect to cheer you on but may choose not to for their own personal reasons. In their eyes, maybe they are thinking that you are not qualified to be doing what you are doing or whatever their reason may be. And that’s ok because you cannot make everyone like you.
If anything at all, most of the time I’m actually the one who rejects myself more than anybody else. But God always uses family and friends to help remind me of the why behind my writing. Katrina is a dear friend who right from the on set God has used to encourage me multiple times to look beyond myself and see God wanting to bless others through my writing.
God has also been bringing me back to the day I had that little chat with Christina (the lady who gave me a word of knowledge), and just like that He reminds me of His calling and His approval. And I tell you, that’s always a great reminder because it keeps me on my toes and encourages me to keep writing.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I usually write during my quiet time with the Lord on Friday morning until noontime. I tell you what! My Friday mornings are very precious to me. I guard that time with every breath I have. I intentionally don’t schedule anything within that time slot. It’s just God and me. I also write here and there during the week when my kids are in bed but my set time for writing is Friday morning till noontime.
I don’t strategically outline my books. God’s Unblinkable Eyes came out of my Bible session with my boys. My eight-year-old son asked me a question about whether he could have a staring contest with God. I immediately knew that was a unique question so I wrote it down in my journal and asked God for the expansion of it. I forgot all about it and one time, I just felt the urge to revisit it and God started putting things on my heart to include in the story. So, from when my son asked the question, which was 8/13/2019 to when it was published, it took about two years.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
No, there’s never a late start. I believe so much in the favor of God that unless He blesses your career, there’s nothing you can do within your own strength to be successful. Jesus spoke about some laborers who were hired late around five in the afternoon by a landowner to work in their vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) but the landowner paid those he had hired in the morning and at five the same wage. Having a late start does not mean a limited chance.
Think about Paul and his late start to ministry but he was greatly successful and of course it came with lots persecution. And another great example is Abraham. He sure did get a late start in becoming a dad but God has made him father of many nations. He has such an honorable title now, “Father Abraham” but he had Isaac when he was like 100 years old. Imagine!
There’s this verse that I love so much and I usually jokingly quote it to my hubby because he is a very competitive guy.
“I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” Ecclesiastes 9:11
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I used to read a whole lot more than I do now. Obviously, being a wife, mom to three active boys, writing, volunteering puts a lot of constraints on my time now.
Joyce Meyer’s “Do Yourself a Favor Forgive” sure did something to me. To tell you that God used that book to free me from many emotional issues would be an understatement. Through that book, I learned that forgiving someone was more for me than for the one who offended me. It healed me physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I love Joyce Meyer’s books. They are so practical.
I’m currently reading “Don’t Limit God” by Andrew Wommack
9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?
I love to hang out with people but I also enjoy my alone time. It was actually the lockdown in March 2020 that forced me to take my writing to a whole new level. Prior to the year 2020, I had multiple things I had written and was trying to put them together but I never had enough time to organize them. But when Covid hit and everyone was forced to be in quarantine, I made use of the free time I had. When I’m alone, it helps me to be still and quiet my mind, hence more ideas tend to flow easily. I couldn’t have asked for a better timing for my writing.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
I don’t really know much about the publishing industry. I’m a newbie and definitely have a lot to learn. I’ve heard it’s a big hurdle to get a publishing house to even look at your manuscript. When I decided to publish my first children’s book, I immediately thought of hiring someone to do it, which is considered self-publishing. It never even occurred to me at that time that I could go through literary agents and pursue the traditional publishing route. I guess in a way, I also felt intimidated at that time to even try. Now, I’ve been seriously considering traditional publishing. I’m willing to give it a shot. Who knows what surprise I may get. There’s no harm in trying.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
You know how prayer is having a conversation with God? That’s how writing is to me. It was my love for journaling that led me to being an author. For me when I start writing in my journal, it’s almost as if I’m whispering into God’s wide-open ears. When I put my thoughts on paper, it gives me a sense of relief knowing that He’s heard me. Writing keeps record of God’s faithfulness and reminds me of the promises He has made and kept in my life.
Committing my thoughts and observations to paper also helps me make connections between the life I am living and the lessons He shows me in the Bible stories I read in His Word. This, in turn, ignites prayers as I respond to what I am discovering so that the journal becomes a trail of prayers for others and myself.