Elyn Joy is an American author from Denver, Colorado. Her published works include two children’s books, Everyone Has a Point of View (2018) and Once Upon a Pigeon and Other Retold Fables (C.R. Success Learning/Barnes & Noble, 2017), two health education books, The Gluten-Free Parent’s Survival Guide (2019) and The Gluten-Free Teen’s Survival Guide (2021), as well as several articles for health/lifestyle magazines in the U.S. and Canada.
Whatever the project, Elyn tends to fight for—and write for—the misunderstood ‘other’ (be it human, animal, or even demon!). Visit her at www.elynjoy.com, Elyn Joy (Facebook), or @elynjoyauthor (Insta).
Check out her new story in The Book of Demons, available now from all good retailers.
What inspired your story ‘The Demon in the Mirror’?
I’ve always been interested in the paranormal. As a kid I read everything I could get my hands on about magic (not the dark kind—more the kind where you can fly or manifest pink sparkly bikes or candy baskets and such). While I never managed to manifest that pink bicycle, I did reap a lifelong fascination with the mysterious world beyond the senses’ apprehension.
Granted, demons aren’t exactly in the pixie dust realm, but they’re quite compelling as entities go. So when I was invited to write for this book, I could only jump in. Here’s where it gets strange, though—I actually experienced a rather unsettling paranormal encounter while researching my first idea for this book!
Here’s what happened:
The idea had to do with an ancient ‘demon catcher’ of sorts. I’d unearthed a rare documentary on the object; within five minutes of watching it, I felt a heavy, almost suffocating weight in the room. My daughter was just next door in her room, relaxing on her bed with a book. All at once, I heard a loud ‘thunk’ followed by her scream.
Apparently, her guitar (across the room) had flown off its stand and had landed at the foot of her bed, its strings buzzing even as I ran to the scene.
Given the backdrop of the ‘demon catcher’ and the eerie feeling I’d experienced, I decided to abandon the project and threw the DVD in the trash. Instead, I chose to explore another, more intimate type of demon: the one within each of us—that darker, more selfish and destructive side of humanity. As a nature lover to the core, I chose to amplify the voices of those most threatened by this collective demon by equipping Nature to challenge it.
It was a fun write—especially given the ghostly/time travel aspect. Best of all, I didn’t have to worry about this demon breaking and entering; she already lives here, and in all of us on occasion—and writing this story helped me to banish her, just a little, by gaining clarity on my own role in light of the natural world.
Why do you think the incidence of exorcisms in the UK and US has increased so much in the last ten-twenty years?
Despite my strange encounter during my first attempt at writing for this book, I personally do not believe in demons—at least not in the traditional sense. Don’t get me wrong: I have respect for the believers (and who knows, maybe I’m way off on this one). That said, if more people are being inhabited by legitimate evil entities, the demons must be finding an ‘in’ somewhere. Maybe we all need to patch up those cracks in our basement floors!
Has your own writing been influenced by any particular authors? How and
Too many to count—and each for a reason as unique as its source.
Among my all-time favorites: Carl Sagan, for his alchemy in turning science to poetry; Arthur Golden, for his complete possession (pun intended, given our context) of each character; J. K. Rowling, for her whimsically brilliant world construction; Toni Morrison, for her authenticity in speaking for voiceless others; and, of course, Ralph Waldo Emerson, for his perennial wisdom and guidance along my writing journey.
Why do you think fantasy and horror are so popular?
The human condition hasn’t changed at its core… We get bored with our mortal circumstance. Yet how enticing that we might imagine ourselves—even reconstruct ourselves—as witches or superheroes or space explorers? And while we’re at it, we might even recreate worlds—both visible and invisible, from exotic lands to time-warps and space-bends!
Limits disappear—even mortality itself, when we get up close and personal with death (via much of the horror genre). The monsters, the close encounters with the dark side, they thrill us from a safe (or so we believe) distance. And so are words and stories among our most accessible superpowers, transformed as we are through them. No wonder the pen is mightier than… well, pretty much anything.
Drawing on your own experience, how does one become a writer? And what advice would you give to an aspiring author?
What else is writing but a capturing of experience, be it actual or imagined? Learn to observe, and to name your observations. It doesn’t hurt to fall in love with words—to wonder about them, to take joy in seeking and finding precision in expression, to arrange and rearrange them in your mind and on paper.
Meanwhile, learn the rules of the craft. Run towards them without fear, and wrestle with them until you find thoughtful ways to break them… because sometimes you must. Most of all, write. Write when you feel like it, and write when you don’t. And when you’re feeling muse-less, check out sites like A. J. Dalton’s https://metaphysicalfantasy.wordpress.com. This site is rich with mini- lessons, writing advice, and all sorts of goodies for authors of any genre who seek to refresh and refine their craft.
What’s your next writing project going to be?
Currently, I’m working on a YA sci-fi novel, a children’s book/curriculum (the sequel to Everyone Has a Point of View, 2019), and a nonfiction book related to ‘real’ magic. I love juggling simultaneous projects, as it allows for choice during my work day and keeps a certain freshness around each project.
Thanks to Elyn Joy.