Jovan and Tykira Washington-Price
A Match Made in Literary Heaven
I think it’s safe to say that marriage has become the Rubik’s Cube of modern society. I think it’s also safe to say that no one has the answer to what actually makes a marriage work. For you it might be someone who stands by you, cherishes you, and fulfills your emotional needs. For me, it’s someone who leaves me the last piece of cake from that birthday party we went to the other day. I’m not really sure what the key to a successful marriage is, but if creating a well-written science fiction novel with your wife is one of them, I think Jovan and Tykira are half-way there.
Yep, I said novel. The literary kind. I know I know, it’s not my usual subject of choice when writing my weekly articles, and by now you guys have probably come to expect the kind with pictures. But I would like to think that in the past month since I’ve started this blog, you’ve come to realize that there is always a method to my madness.
Or not. Either way, just trust me and keep reading. This is a good one.
Where was I? Oh yes – marriage. Jovan and Tykira Washington-Price are a husband and wife literary team from Philadelphia currently functioning under the name J.T. Marques (a combination of their first initials and Jovan’s middle name). Their first novel, New Genesis Presents: Sunny is based on a story that Jovan has been slowly developing since 1994. After his grandmother passed away, he decided that he wanted to create characters that embodied the substance, purpose, and pride that she’d bestowed on him as a young child. As I spoke with Jovan, I came to realize just how much he was invested in the characters that he created just on an emotional level. As artists, we tend to treat our ideas like our children, so to relinquish a little bit of that control to someone else is difficult – especially when that someone is a person that you argue with on a regular basis about who’s turn it is to do dishes.
After I write this article, I plan to argue with my boyfriend about dishes that are sitting in our sink at this exact moment. It’s just a common clause in every invisible relationship contract.
So how are Jovan and Tykira getting past the little things, normal husband/wife disagreements, and dirty dishes with enough emotional energy left to invest in creating a solid, engaging story? Well, engaging is the key word here, my friends, because this is just the kind of intriguing novel whose foundation is as strong as any good marriage.
The story starts with Ida Brown, a shy socially-awkward fifteen year old girl who is consistently plagued by chillingly realistic nightmares, unearthly apparitions, and a lust to kill that is as intoxicating as it is terrifying. She, along with Jeremiah Jones, are ex-members of the Seven Day Theory, an elite genetically enhanced child assassination squad, hiding out under the guise of normal teenagers. Ms. Brown, their adoptive mother, is none the wiser, but when strange things start happening around Ida’s family and friends, and the unshakeable feeling that her former leader, Lieutenant Cooper, is closing in on her heels, how long can Ida keep her secret?
And that’s just the surface.
“What makes each character unique is the fact that much of their persona is based on personalities of people we know. The characters of James, Jeremiah, and Craig are widely influenced by different portions of my personality, while Ida is a combination of me, Tykira and my grandmother,” says Jovan on developing his characters. “Not to mention I spend 24 hours a day obsessing over them. I’ve been told it’s unhealthy, but I truly believe that knowing one’s character inside and out is the greatest way to fully bring them to life on page.”
The fact that Jovan puts so much thought into his characters is evident through-out the story. We get to know them on a much deeper level – the things that drive and motivate them, their fears, shortcomings, and conflicting desires as they each attempt to solve the same problems, but for very different reasons. It’s difficult to find stories that are character-driven in fictional writing of any genre or medium, but every character in NGPS has their own unique set of issues, inner-conflicts, personal ticks, and subtle insecurities that manifest into bigger problems down the line. Suffice to say that every character brings something to the table in this story, even those that seem unimportant in the very beginning.
Jovan originally intended to tell the story as a comic, but it was Tykira’s uncanny way with words that inspired him to transform the story into a novel. “It didn’t take long for me to discover what a phenomenal writer she was when I asked her to help me write the story,” Jovan says. “It wasn’t at all easy and we bumped heads. A lot.”
Both admit to being pretty stubborn individuals which contributed to the intense head-butting. “It was hard to let go of every little detail I’d envisioned for so long and even harder to relinquish control,” Jovan continues. “But a good relationship, including a good marriage, needs to stand on trust. So I stepped back and let Tykira do what she felt was most comfortable.”
Besides the fact that Tykira looks like she’s more than capable of taking Jovan, it was a good choice because she truly is an exceptional writer. One of the difficult things to accomplish in telling a story that is transformed from a visual medium into a written one is capturing that same vivid imagery that would have been so obvious in graphic novel form. Tykira was just the right person for the job because not only is she able to paint dynamic images, she is able to do so in an extremely eloquent and dramatic way that is distinct in how she expressively combines words. And while there are some noticeable mistakes in some of the writing, overall Tykira has proven herself to be just as adept as some of the more seasoned writers out there.
I mean, do you know how long it’s been since I read a book straight through, in one sitting, that didn’t involve a superhero bashing some lunatic in the face? Trust me, that says a lot.
And even more so because Jovan and Tykira really do make one hell of a team. You know what? Just to prove it, I’m going to include an excerpt from the book so you know I’m not all talk and dumb jokes. You’re welcome.
Jovan and Tykira Washington-Price currently reside in Philadelphia and are hard at work on their next novel in the New Genesis Presents series, entitled New Genesis Presents: Savages. Expect to see more action, more personal and steamy interactions between the characters, and some very pivotal situations. New Genesis Presents: Sunny can be found on Amazon.com at the link below, for $0.99 (Kindle version) or $8.99 (paperback).