The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is Janay Harden! Her book, Forty-two Minutes (The Indigo Lewis Series Book 1) release on July 13th 2021.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Janay Harden. I am a lover of words. I am a mental health therapist, and I believe in women’s empowerment and creating spaces where people feel heard and valued. Today those ‘spaces’ that I create are books, and I am passionate about the art of story-telling. I call myself The Storytelling Therapist, because I am able to take the stories of triumph and resilience and translate them into creative and therapeutic ways.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing just about all my life it seems. Cliche, right? It’s the truth. I have always been fascinated with the way words can be put together and invoke emotions in people. What an honor it has been to be a part of the author club!
Describe a typical writing day.
A typical writing day for me is actually lowkey. I only give myself about 1.5 hours to write every single day. I try not to stress about the words and my goal is to hit my word count for the day and not stumble about what it sounds like.
Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
I am inspired by life. I am inspired by the stories that I read as a child that captured my attention, and I try to write stories about people that look and sound like me, and stories I always wanted to read as a teen book lover.
What are some challenges that have come up during your writing and publishing journey?
For me, the most challenging part of writing is editing. I try to not look at it as such a daunting task, but sometimes going through and editing your work for clarity and understanding can be difficult. As others have said, the writing is easy, the editing is the hard part.
When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?
I try to put myself in their emotions and practice being empathetic. I try to look at it from all sides. How does my character feel? How do they want to feel? What’s stopping them from getting there?
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Intuitive, seeker, creative
How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
I try to self reflect and think of the message I am trying to convey. What is the tone or impact that I am looking for?
What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?
Keep writing. In order for you to get better and improve your craft, you have to do it consistently. Don’t let imposter syndrome stop you.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
I write stories for teens experiencing mental health issues. I want them to know that they are seen and heard, and I enjoy telling their stories and incorporating creative ways to manage their symptoms and behavior.
Thank you Janay Harden for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her book, Forty-two Minutes today!
It wasn’t until she held his remains that she knew she was in big trouble.
Indigo Lewis is counting down the days until high school graduation. As editor of the high school newspaper, she’s put in her time and hopes it’s enough to get her away from her troubled family life. Her father is constantly struggling to pay the bills and her mother is locked away in a mental hospital. Even with an after school job it doesn’t seem like she will ever get enough money together to go to college.
Jaxon Green is a kid of wealth and privilege —but with a secret.
Used to gliding his way through life, he offers Indigo a simple deal: write a newspaper blog to help him get into college and he will use his family’s wealth and connections to get her into college too. He promises it will be a no-strings attached deal to get them both what they want after high school. Always used to pushing the envelope, Jaxon uses his position of power to get Indigo caught up in increasingly uncomfortable requests and eventually black mails her.
As her deal with Jaxon spirals out of control, Indigo also learns shocking secrets about her family and begins to lose her grip with reality, and with it — her mental health.
With voices inside her head growing louder by the day, can she escape the fate of her family and allure of murder?
Meet Indigo in Book 1 of the Indigo Lewis Saga!
Janay Harden, LCSW is a millennial therapist licensed in New Jersey. Janay comes with over ten years experience working in the mental health field with children, families, and schools. She promotes healing through helping break generational curses and listening more to our own intuitive voice.
She’s held many titles but her favorites are mentor, mental health advocate, and author. In addition to her work as a therapist, Janay is a full-time author, writing fictional stories centering around the lives and experiences of African American young-adults.
If you enjoy stories about melanated characters navigating love, friendships, and family, please consider sticking around while she makes sense of the world through her collection of words.