Practice What You Praise: Candice Y. Johnson

No one ever forgets their first time at anything, and launching a writing career is no different. I take special pleasure in introducing debut novelists. Which is why I’m absolutely thrilled to share my interview with Candice Y. Johnson, a new voice in Adult Christian Fiction. She’s witty, engaging and believes in keepin’ it real. Enjoy!

What have you written? 
What haven’t I written? I’ve taken a stab at everything from simply tagging my John Hancock on a brand new apartment lease, to the exit paperwork after the position at the job I’d worked for was suddenly eliminated after 14 years! Seriously, though – I have freelanced for TV Guide magazine, The Dallas Morning News, The Associated Press, Curly Nikki, and my own natural hair blog, The Frizzness.
When did you begin your writing career?
I’ve always had a love affair with words; I began reading at an age when most kids are concentrating on crayons as a midday snack. Reading books and playing with poetry became my world! In high school, I was blessed to attend journalism camps, which eventually led to an editorial assistant gig for the AP.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?
Full-time…by default. But I’m also the Artistic Director of Ordered Steps Productions Dance Company, and I balance between dancing and writing by hitting the keyboard during the day, stolen moments at night when I’m not teaching/rehearsing, or typing notes into my phone when the words won’t stop talking to me.
What’s your writing process? 
In most cases, I crave NOISE around me. So when I’m writing during the day, I love having the sounds of the court shows entertaining me. I’m not really all that deep and don’t take myself too seriously, so my method is totally informal. And food. I always need food in my path.
Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?
I stopped keeping a journal years ago, but oddly enough I’m obsessed with them. My personal Facebook page has loads of interactive activity and serves as an online journal of sorts, so I jot my posts into the piles of books I have in my home.
What’s your inspiration? 
Anything that makes me laugh, and most of what doesn’t break me.
What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave? The same as my dance – a legacy of healing hearts.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Kick FEAR in the teeth and let it know it doesn’t own you! Go for it – don’t let the opinions of others keep you from completing your destiny.
What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?
Mostly novels by Michelle Stimpson, Tiffany L. Warren and Kimberla Lawson Roby.
What are you currently working on?
The next novel in my Practice What You Praise series is already getting my attention, as well as a children’s book series that won’t let my heart go.
Latest release and book blurb?
Practice what you praiseA teen mother… a praise dance team… who gives whom the right to praise?
Pregnant and unwed, Jojo was quickly dismissed from the church’s praise team, though the baby’s father (a choir musician) remained in his position thanks to his familial ties at church. Two years later, Jojo believes she’s paid the price for her choices and wants her spot back–after all, anyone who has ever seen her dance knows that she’s anointed to praise Him in the dance. But how long must one “sit down” before being reinstated? Isn’t a repentant heart and a humbled spirit enough?
Pastor Trigg wants to lead the church in the right direction, but the congregation seems quite divided about how to move forward with letting Jojo–who is still in high school–dance in the sanctuary. Will allowing her to dance set a bad precedent? Can the members forgive and forget? While trying to sort through what’s best for the church, his personal life seems to be a total bust. Will he ever find true love?
This debut work deals with a sensitive topic while maintaining a uniquely humorous point of view. Jojo will have you laughing out loud and make you while the story line begs the question: Who gives whom the right to praise?
Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?
I am completely in love with the main character, Jojo! She’s a natural haired beauty who is funny, spunky & ANOINTED. Becoming a young mother has forced her to grow wise pretty fast, but her faith is keeping her strong. Yaya DaCosta would be my dream to play her!
How can we purchase your work?
How can we stay in touch with you?
TWITTER: @iamworship7
INSTAGRAM: naturaldancer

For those not in the know, here’s an example of praise dancing. She’s modest, but Candice choreographed this!

Faith Simone Says:
So yeah, if you know anything about me, you can probably guess that Practice What You Praise is right up my alley. Church politics and whatnot are a trip. I’ve been the judgmental looking-down-my-nose type (Lord forgive me) and I’ve been the one totally aware of my need for grace. Thank God for growth and maturity in Him!  Plus, back in the day I was a fierce praise dancer. I would try to find a picture, but y’all ain’t ready! 
Have you ever been a part of unfair judgement? On the giving or receiving end? Do you think churches are generally harder on women than men when it comes to sexual sin? Have you ever witnessed a double standard in church? How did it make you feel? Any questions for Candice? 

4 thoughts on “Practice What You Praise: Candice Y. Johnson

  1. Ummm. So, that liturgical team can DANCE!
    I was watching the video thinking “I think this is the BEST praise dancing I’ve ever seen.” I know it’s not supposed to be about skill, but about glorifying God…but I just had to comment on that. I used to dance at my church a long time ago. But our dance team was a “whosoever will, let them come” type of thing:). So, I just really admire that level of excellence.

    I think in the past there has definitely been a double standard, and I’ve actually witnessed a woman being “sat down” and the man being allowed to serve. Which is CRAZY?! But, I think more people are realizing, hey this is ridiculous? The knife cuts both ways.

    Candice, is this something you’ve witnessed being a dance leader? If so, how did you communicate your difference of opinion with your team?


    • Lol @ “whosoever will, let them come”. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! But yes, those women really have exceptional skills. I couldn’t do half of what they do and be able to move the next day!

      I’m so glad that a lot of churches are starting to be more progressive in their treatment towards women. In a lot of ways, people are just a product of their times, and the whole “Boys will be boys” mentality was really prevalent in the past. It still lingers today, but I see steps in the right direction. Like you said, accountability works both ways. And to be totally honest, I think one of the reasons some churches may be more lenient on men than women is simply because churches are typically FULL of women willing to serve. Men? Fewer and farther between. Especially in predominantly African-American churches. I going to leave that alone because this could take the conversation in a whole ‘nother direction!


  2. Thanks for sharing and for sharing your thoughts – yes, that conversation could definitely go a whole bunch of places!!!


    • It was my pleasure to help spread the word about Practice What You Praise, Michelle. And yes, that conversation could leap off in directions I’m definitely not ready to facilitate on this blog!


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