Turn of the Cheek by Janaya Black

The concept of forgiveness becomes an unimaginable concept for one family as they face being torn between facing their son’s murderer and being compelled to help an innocent child whose life is caught in the balance.
Turn of the Cheek explores the lives of two families, from two dierent walks of life, brought together by tragedy, who are forced to deal with God’s providence in a way that will change all of their lives forever.
Chapter 1
Michigan weather is bipolar … just like most women, Cain Vasquez thought as he shuffled his feet, rubbing his hands together to generate some extra heat during a particularly chilly June night, while standing in the shadows of an abandoned warehouse in the most undesirable part of southwest Detroit. After flexing his fingers to get the circulation going, he stuck his hands back in his pockets
and slid his right hand back around the grip of his gun. As he shuffled, he looked around impatiently to see if his
connect was lurking around in an attempt to sneak up on him— because, after all, in his line of work you never could be too careful. At the sudden rattle of what sounded like a fence in the distance, Cain tightened his grip on the  weapon in his pocket and stepped farther back into the shadows of the building in order to watch without being seen. A long moment later, a masculine figure dressed in dark clothes and a hoodie came into view, walking briskly in his
Cain watched the man approach the designated meeting spot and once he was sure that he was alone, he covered his own head with a hood, stepped out of his hiding spot, and began to walk toward him with both hands in his pockets. With one hand, he traced the outline of the package the man had come to retrieve, and in the other he held the answer to any unscripted antics the connect might decide to test during their encounter.


Janaya Black is a woman who thrives in the capacity of wearing many hats.  A passionate writer at heart, from the silver screen to the stage she seamlessly blends her creative drive and aspirations into the many other facets that make up her impressive resume.

Janaya serves as president/CEO of Black-Smith Enterprises, an entertainment infrastructure created to house all of her creative projects.

In 2004, Janaya wrote and published her first fiction novel The Breaking Point, followed by her second release in November of 2006, As Told by the Other Woman, and the third and final installment of the “Prison Chronicles” series Beautiful Rage: The Break of Dawn in 2008.

With the release of her first book followed the spark that ignited her love for the art of independent filmmaking. After teaming with her husband Rockey Black to create a trailer for The Breaking Point, she then went on to write, direct and produce several short film projects and released her first feature length film, Till Death…Do Us Part, to DVD in 2009.  In subsequent years, she went on to complete a plethora of other stage and film productions that include The Breaking Point, Idol, I Am My Sister’s Keeper, Why Do Men Cheat and Loud Pack, and most recently Warrior Pride, which was released in 2018.

With the release of her newest literary work, Turn of the Cheek, Black is slated to begin production on the film adaptation later this year.

For more information about Janaya Black, please visit www.black-smithenterprises.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @janayablack.

Get to know the Author:

  1. How difficult was it to get back into the swing of writing after a more than 10-year hiatus?

It took a minute for me to get back into the frame of mind of being disciplined with respect to setting a writing schedule and keeping it, but once I got into a flow it wasn’t hard.  It also helped that I had already written the screenplay for the movie, so that definitely made it a lot easier.

  1. What was the inspiration for Turn of the Cheek?

I always seem to lean toward stories that play on people’s emotions with whatever the subject matter ends up being about. With this story, I thought about how God gave His Son to die for the world, and I have two kids, so I tried to imagine what it would be like as mother to have to sit and face the person who murdered my son and say “I forgive you”. I don’t know how anyone would be able to do that in their own power, so the story just kind of picked up from there.  It started as a screenplay and then I decided that I wanted to give the characters more depth, so I turned it into a book.

  1. There is a hashtag attached to this title of #yougoncry, can you talk about the significance of that?

One day while we were in rehearsal for the movie, one of the cast members said that the hashtag for this story should be #yougoncry because of all of the various emotions that people viewing or reading this story will experience. I embraced that because it really summarizes the Turn of the Cheek experience. People will cry sad, angry and happy tears because this story has all of the elements to take them to those places. I did all of those things while writing it because the concept of forgiveness is so unimaginable and beautiful all at the same time.

  1. Which one of your characters is the most like you?

I would have to say that Deborah is the most like me because of her determination, stubbornness, fierce love for her family, but she is also unlike me in a lot of ways because she has a strength that I don’t know if I could ever aspire to possess if put in her situation.  In addition to Deborah, I would have to say that I share characteristics of many of my main characters.


  1. What is the biggest difference between writing a book and screenplay?

When you write a book, you can go anywhere your imagines takes you, but when you are writing for screen you have to be mindful of a lot of different factors.  For instance, you have to be careful about locations and the number of characters because you have to keep your budget in mind. You can fly to Paris or blow up a car for free in a book, but with a movie on the independent level, liquid resources are very hard to come by. Most of the time you are probably going to be funding your own project. Then there are the time restraints; there is no time limit on a book because the reader goes at his/her own pace, but with a movie you have to try to tell your story in two hours or less. Ideally, anyway.


  1. What advice would you give to an author who wants to turn their book into a movie?

I would say go for it! It’s not rocket science but it is hard work. Whatever you determine your budget is, then that is what you have to make your movie with.  Do your research (I can’t stress that one enough) and then commit to turning your book into the best script possible. Once you have a script that you’re happy with, get out there and put together the team you need to make it happen.  Don’t get me wrong, your first project will be your worst, but as you grow, you will get better.  The important thing is to stop making excuses and get started.


  1. What is the biggest criticism you have received as an author?

The biggest criticism I have received is that I’m not descriptive enough. I am often told that my books are really good reads, but they are too short because I don’t spend enough time painting the picture. I am a very direct and to-the-point type of person when I talk and that’s the way I write.  I guess I would have to chop that up to my short attention span, but it is definitely something that I have been working on and I hope it shows in Turn of the Cheek!

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