Joy Deja King talks with Hip Hop Ruckus in this in-depth interview in 2010. She dishes on everything from her baby daddy drama, the cutthroat publishing business and what she has on the horizon. See The Complete Interview Here.
Joy Deja King, author of 14 modern-day novels and the hugely-favored series entitled Bitch, sits down for an exclusive and somewhat shocking interview.
The juiciest part of this conversation is when she dishes about her ex and father of her only child, a Grammy award-winning music producer within the industry who has worked with everyone from Destiny’s Child, J-Lo and Nas to Jay-Z and Michael Jackson. She goes into detail about the alleged abuse she endured during their relationship and her brave decision to leave for the sake of their now six-year-old son.
Told repeatedly by her ex that she would never amount to anything without him, she sends an encouraging message to females all over the world. Now a best-selling author and owner of her own publishing company, Joy Deja King has proven herself as a successful businesswoman and a role-model to women everywhere. Talk about female empowerment!
Pregnant, broke and fresh out of an (allegedly) abusive relationship, King began writing her first book in the hopes of supporting her newborn son and has since gone on to write fourteen additional novels, establishing herself as a best-selling author.
Joy Deja King: Once I start writing and I get on a roll I normally put in 5-10 hours a day. Only twice, has it felt like work to me and that was because I was missing my deadline.
HHR: Now you have your own publishing company, correct?
Joy Deja King: Yes, and oh, yes, that’s a lot of work!
HHR: So do you set your own deadlines?
Joy Deja King: One book was when I had a publishing deal. But, yes, I give myself deadlines all the time, it helps me stay focused.
HHR: Why did you decide to start your own publishing company?
Joy Deja King: I wanted to have more creative and financial control over my work.
HHR: Did you butt heads a lot with your past publishing company?
Joy Deja King: A few times. Publishing deals are set up to keep you a slave to them. I had to think about long term success, especially for how hard I grind.Â
HHR: So what does owning your own company entail?
Joy Deja King: Distribution is the biggest job. I never totally depended on a publishing company to do my marketing, so that part is cool. But youâ€™re putting all your money up for everything, including printing, shipping costs, everything. It’s worth it if you do it right, but it ain’t easy! Iâ€™m constantly working. It’s funny because a lot of times people think that the success Iâ€™ve had was easy but I continue to work my ass off because it all falls on me.
HHR: Do you have children?
Joy Deja King: Yes, I have a young son. I started writing right after he was born and people can’t believe Iâ€™ve written all these books with a child up under me. [Laughs]
HHR: Yeah, how did you do that?
Joy Deja King: I don’t really know, but I do keep weird hours. Sometimes I’m up all night writing then I have to get up to make sure he gets to school.It’s hilarious, but I make it work. Now I live by my mom, so that helps a lot in terms of me traveling.
HHR: How old is your son?
Joy Deja King: He’s six, he’ll be seven soon.
HHR: Are you married?
Joy Deja King: No, not yet. My breakup with his father actually started me writing. [Laughs] That relationship also gave me a lot of useful ammunition for my books, so it was great. He was a music producer so, again, the circle of people I was around make wonderful characters. [Laughs]
HHR: Do you ever name him? I’m assuming he’s a high-profile producer.
Joy Deja King: I’ve never done that but I do believe there will come a point where Iâ€™ll openly talk about it only because, at one time, it inspired many of my characters as well as some other industry people did. During the time I was with him, yes, he was a very successful music producer.I will say that relationship really taught me that I needed to be financially independent. When I wanted out, he tried to make my life a living hell! Thatâ€™s why when I write books I try to get women to understand the pitfalls of thinking everything is lovely when you date a man with some money.Â
HHR: Believe it! Okay, unless there’s someone else you’d like to give dirt on, [Laughs] Let’s talk about your childhood. You’ve lived in Ohio, Maryland, California and North Carolina. Did you move around a lot as a child?
Joy Deja King: Yes, my step-dad’s job required that.
HHR: Where did you spend most of your time?
Joy Deja King: I would say early childhood, Cali, and then it was split between North Carolina and Maryland; my college years and adult life, New York City and New Jersey.
HHR: Cool. And what was your childhood like?
Joy Deja King: Wow, I always wanted my mother and father to get back together, although I can’t remember them being married. I disliked my step-father because he was super controlling, but he was a great provider. The crazy part is that I ended up always being attracted to men just like him. Yikes!Â
Joy Deja King: Yes, thatâ€™s why you have to be careful about the environment you raise your children in because it really does have an affect on how they view life and relationships. My son’s father was abusive and that’s why I knew I couldn’t stay with him after I got pregnant.
HHR: Was he verbally or physically abusive to you?
Joy Deja King: Both. I made a lot of mistakes but again I don’t regret because its help me become a much stronger and better woman.Â
HHR: So, your ex, is he married or in a relationship now?
Joy Deja King: He did get in another relationship. That chick put me through hell after we broke up. They ended up having two kids together, but unfortunately, it didn’t last. I say unfortunately because I really want him to be happy because I think it will make him a better dad to our son.Â
HHR: How long did you stay with him before you decided enough was enough?
Joy Deja King: It’s crazy because I was with him for three years. I had known for awhile that I wanted out, but dysfunctional relationships are the hardest to break free from. Once I got pregnant, I knew I couldn’t have my child being part of the craziness.
HHR: So how did you leave, especially with him being financially controlling?
Joy Deja King: Oh, goodness, it was crazy. I told him I wanted to have our child but didn’t want to be with him anymore. That’s when he tried to have me put out of the crib, stopped giving me any money, really tried to break me down. Luckily, I had a really good friend who supported me financially through those hard times.
HHR: Wow. So have you protected him from your son throughout his life?
Joy Deja King: Oh no, my son adores him. I would never do that. I don’t believe he would hurt our son; he just spent a lot of time trying to make me miserable
HHR: And do you get along with him now?
Joy Deja King: No. In the beginning, I’ll admit that because he was doing things to hurt me I would react in a negative way. But as time went on, I just wanted peace for my life, that’s why I moved away. I hoped that would make him get his mind right and be more mature. But it hasn’t helped. After all this time, he still has this hatred towards me where we can’t even talk. To me, I think its all ego. He can’t believe that with all the bullshit we went through I get pregnant and then I want out. I guess I can somewhat understand, but itâ€™s time to get over it.
HHR: Is he still big within the music industry?
Joy Deja King: No, I wouldn’t say so. I mean, he still makes a lot of money because he had a bunch of hits for a long period of time but I don’t believe he is still producing tracks.Â
HHR: It would be such redemption if you became more successful than him after all thatâ€¦
Joy Deja King: Yes, I’m working hard for that to happen. He always told me I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without himâ€¦Â
HHR: Don’t you just love guys like that?
Joy Deja King: Yes, they so motivate you!
HHR: Are you familiar with the Mel Gibson situation right now?
Joy Deja King: Girl, yes, been all on it! But I’ve been telling everybody that’s how most men treat and talk to you when they have all the money.
HHR: Have you heard the tapes?
Joy Deja King: Yes, crazy!
HHR: Crazy! Does that in any way remind you of your ex?
Joy Deja King: My ex has busted my ear, pulled a gun on me, punched me in my stomach, like really crazy stuff. So, again, I wasn’t surprised by those tapes. That type of foolishness really goes down in those relationships!
HHR: And I bet he was all smooth and charming in public, right?
Joy Deja King: Yes! But I’ll never forget the first time he knocked me around was at The Hit Factory studio in front of mad people. He snapped. I never had any indication that he was capable of something like that. I should’ve left him then because once a man knows he can hit you once it never stops.Â
HHR: How did you react?
Joy Deja King: I was so stunned! It was surreal to me. He was like, I take care of you, I do everything for you, how can you talk to me like that?
HHR: What did you say to set him off? Not that it was your fault.
Joy Deja King: A girl in the studio had just told me that she knew he had cheated on me and I confronted him about it. I was like, if that’s true, I’m done with you and you will pay! Why did I say that? He grabbed me by my neck and slammed me through the door and up against the wall where the plaques were.
HHR: What did everyone else do?
Joy Deja King: His partner was trying to get him off of me, everybody was shocked.
HHR: Were you pregnant when he did that?.
Joy Deja King: No, I wasn’t pregnant!.
HHR: So he never hit you when you were pregnant?
Joy Deja King: Not that sort of hit. When we first broke up, he still had a key to the crib. One night, he came in while I was asleep and grabbed me and was shaking me. I was so scared that I called the police!.
HHR: Oh, my gosh, this guy! You did a good thing for your son by leaving; that was a very strong move.
Joy Deja King: You’re so right. Our relationship was completely out of control. I knew that if I didn’t get out, my life would be miserable. He never wanted me to have a career or make something of myself. He liked being able to tell me I didn’t have nothing or that I needed him. I truly hope women can understand that it’s so important to make your own money; I don’t care how little it is at least it’s yours.
HHR: He sounds like a very insecure man who used money and anger to control you.
Joy Deja King: Exactly. But most men that I’ve seen in the industry are like that, sad but true.
HHR: And how did that work out for him?
Joy Deja King: [Laughs]
HHR: I won’t ask his name, but can you tell me who has produced for?
Joy Deja King: Oh, gosh, just about everybody in Hip-Hop: Jay-Z, J-Lo, Destinyâ€™s Child, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Michael Jacksonâ€¦the list goes on.Â
HHR: So he was bigger in the early 2000′s?
Joy Deja King: Exactly. He’s even won a Grammy.
HHR: Wow, that’s crazy. Moving along, what book are you currently promoting?
Joy Deja King: Trife Life to Lavish: Part 2, it ties all my books together.
HHR: Are you going to keep writing?
Joy Deja King: Yes. My next book will drop in February, called Rich or Famous…rich because you can buy fame.
HHR: That is true, which explains the horrible music we’re hearing lately.
Joy Deja King: Amen to that, I think so, too! [Laughs]
HHR: And you have an upcoming tour?
Joy Deja King: Yes, The Cut-Throat World of Publishing Tour. I was in a two-year legal battle with one of my publishing company and I got the rights back to my super-popular Bitch series. I want to educate upcoming writers about what to avoid so they can hopefully learn from my mistakes.Â
HHR: Where will you be touring?
Joy Deja King: Philly, Maryland, Detroit. Atlanta and Houston.
HHR: I swear Iâ€™ve seen your Bitch books in Barnes & Noble.
Joy Deja King: You probably have. The first Bitch book is supposed to be mandatory in all Barnes & Noble stores, that’s how popular it is!
HHR: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Joy Deja King: I can’t think of anything, you’ve covered so much! This is the most fun I’ve had with an interview in like forever, or maybe ever! [Laughs]
HHR: We’ll have to follow up with this conversation at another time and get some more juicy details from you! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
Joy Deja King: Thanks, and you’re so appreciated!