About RJ Jojola
RJ spent the first twelve years of her life growing up in the beautiful state of Michigan. From a very young age, she spent most of her time outdoors. Whether she was playing outside in the yard, taking adventures through the woods, building sand castles on the shores of the great lakes, taking care of her pets, or fishing on the lake, RJ was content to be out in nature. Using her silly sense of humor, real life adventures, and her endless imagination, RJ excelled at and enjoyed writing and reading from an early age.
At the age of twelve, RJ, and her younger brother, said goodbye to her friends and family. Her parents had traded in the lush green Michigan landscape to move to the high altitude desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It took quite a while for RJ to adjust to city living. Spending much less time outside, RJ turned to fantasy and science fiction movies, novels, and video games for recreation. It thrilled her to jump into fantastical adventures and space odysseys with some of her most favorite characters. The Legend of Zelda, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pan's Labyrinth, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Wars, were some of the most influential works that shaped her obsession with the genres. She also spent a great deal of time reading some of the classics that still inspire her today. Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar, awakened RJ to the reality of human suffering. She used her own difficulties and experiences to fuel her poetry.
Her fascination with the fragile human condition continued throughout college. After graduating with degrees in both psychology and criminology, in 2007, RJ planned to attend law school. But after coming to terms with the loss of two close loved ones over her college years, RJ began volunteering with a local crisis center, taking calls from those who were suffering from life's tragic ups and downs, including suicide. RJ knew then that she was needed elsewhere and put law school on the back burner. Her goal from then on was to help and empower people. She found a job working with adults with development disabilities. While there, she discovered her passion for teaching. She went back to school and got certified to teach and completed a master's degree in education; graduating with distinction (honors) from The University of New Mexico.
As a teacher, RJ shared her passion for writing and poetry with her students. Teaching language arts made her feel alive. Guiding her students through the creative process and mentoring them through their life's experiences, via writing, gave her purpose. Seeing them open up, and express some of their most difficult memories through writing, touched her soul. RJ knew then that it was time to seek help and face her own pain head on.
Throughout the healing process, RJ used writing as a means to cope. It was here that, On the Verge, was born. On the path to healing, in 2013, RJ, moved to Jacksonville, FL. It was then that she decided to finish her book and pursue a career in writing. Her greatest wish was to touch and inspire others through her fictional stories. Currently, RJ is channeling her energies into writing and publishing more novels that create worlds where suffering and loss can be avenged, and survivors eventually find hope and peace.
Other Hobbies and Interests
"To help regain my mental and physical strength, I trained for and competed in a body building/figure competition. Though, I no longer compete, lifting weights and staying physically fit and strong are still a huge part of my life."
This photograph was taken by Chad Dennis for his, "100 Portrait Project - Rethinking the Stigma of Mental Health."
RJ participated in the project because she believes in Chad's vision of raising awareness about the struggle of mental illness.
Fitness & Body Building
"Video games have always allowed me the ability to escape reality and transform into a character to delve into epic and dangerous adventures that I never could otherwise."
"Crafting costumes and stepping into the shoes of some of your favorite characters, whether they be from your favorite films and video games, or even an original creation, is exhilarating."
"Capturing a single moment in time with a camera is our only way of making time stop. You can look back to that moment in time, and bask in it for as long as you wish. Within a photgraph, that moment lives on forever. "
"With my lense, I can see the beauty of nature in a way that I could enver do with the naked eye. Mother nature still blows me away"
"Graphic art is like magic; taking what is already beautiful or intriguing and making it even more beautiful and intriguing. Disobeying the laws of physics and denying reality to create other worldly images. Though, I still need a lot more practice."
Something J. K. Rowling once said, really resonates with me. She said, 'And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.' She has definitely been a huge inspiration to me over the years. And of course, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Hogwarts will always be my home away from home; my happy place.
- R. J. Jojola