Today I’m back with an author interview with Joy L. Smith. This author wrote the book Turning that released a few days ago that sounds amazing! I was honored to be able to interview her for the tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours this week. Keep on reading for the interview and to read more about Turning!
Turning by Joy L. Smith
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: March 1, 2022
In this raw, searingly honest debut young adult novel, a former aspiring ballerina must confront her past in order to move forward from a devastating fall that leaves her without the use of her legs.
Genie used to fouetté across the stage. Now the only thing she’s turning are the wheels to her wheelchair. Genie was the star pupil at her exclusive New York dance school, with a bright future and endless possibilities before her. Now that the future she’s spent years building toward has been snatched away, she can’t stand to be reminded of it—even if it means isolating herself from her best friends and her mother. The only wish this Genie has is to be left alone.
But then she meets Kyle, who also has a “used to be.” Kyle used to tumble and flip on a gymnastics mat, but a traumatic brain injury has sent him to the same physical therapist that Genie sees. With Kyle’s support, along with her best friend’s insistence that Genie’s time at the barre isn’t over yet, Genie starts to see a new path—one where she doesn’t have to be alone and she finally has the strength to heal from the past.
But healing also means confronting. Confronting the booze her mother, a recovering alcoholic, has been hiding under the kitchen sink; the ex-boyfriend who was there the night of the fall and won’t leave her alone; and Genie’s biggest, most terrifying secret: the fact that the accident may not have been so accidental after all.
Content warnings: Being newly paralyzed from accident, parental alcoholism, abortion.
What inspired you to start writing?
I don’t know if it’s just one thing, but I’ve always enjoyed reading and I would try to emulate what I was reading. One of the first things I remember writing was fan fiction for my favorite Boy Band B5. I wrote several movies for them!
What are some of your favorite books you’ve read lately?
I don’t read Non fiction a lot, but I so enjoyed Black Birds In the Sky by Brandy Colbert as of late. It really opened me up to reading more historical works and nonfiction.
What has been your favorite moment of the publishing process for Turning so far?
Seeing TURNING’s book cover for the first time. Like wow it’s stunning and I’ve always imagined my cover and to see it was just a surreal moment.
If you were a character in Turning, what kind of character would you be?
I feel like I’d be Genie’s physical therapist Logan. Knows what’s right for her. He might be more chipper than I’d be but I can see me as Logan for sure.
Describe Turning in five words or less.
Heartfelt. Humorous. Messy. Black Girl Magic.
What message do you hope readers take from this story?
I hope readers learn to be kind to themselves. I hope they dream, and are open to different routes to achieving their dreams. And finally that they recognize when they aren’t being treated well and have the strength to get help.
During this tour there are other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating! Click here for the full schedule to see them all!
About the Author
Joy L. Smith is a childcare professional and lives in Queens, New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, she has a bachelor’s degree in human development and differences, with a specialization in communication disorders. She’s been writing since she was a teenager and has been mentored by Ibi Zoboi, Radha Blank, and Emma Straub through the Girls Write Now program. Turning is her debut novel.
Turning sounds like an emotional and intense read! I’ll definitely be reading it soon. Have you ever done any type of dance? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.