Joya Stevenson

Religion and Spirituality

For those who write about spirituality and religion, in a manner that engages the intellect and opens the heart, Joya Stevenson offers extensive editorial experience, as well as a capacity to motivate her clients so that they achieve their best results. Many clients engage Joya’s services for books about biblical and theological subjects because of her advanced expertise. Her editing encompasses assorted other subjects, too, in nonfiction (e.g. memoir) and mixed genres.

In addition to editing, Joya is engaged in scholarship, teaching, and coaching.

The Study of Religion: Scholar in biblical and religious studies (Ph.D Harvard University).* (see below)

Spiritual and Personal Development: Professional coach and Interfaith Chaplain.**(see below)

Editorial Approach:

Primarily, Joya assists authors to develop their manuscripts, whether they be final or first drafts, and to revise and rewrite them, addressing the following factors.

Themes and Structure: Joya offers editorial input about voice, point of view, genre, word choice, phrasing, overarching design, flow, dramatic pacing, research methodology, rhetorical crafting, and topical organization. Revision and rewriting may be involved.

Motivation: Since writing a book provokes growth, Joya coaches her clients during the creative process if desired, so that they may dissolve blocks to their productivity. She consults with her editorial clients by phone.

Input about the Bible, Religion, and Theological Matters: Joya evaluates the arguments and artistry of manuscripts based on her specialized knowledge of the Bible and religion.

Religion, Spirituality, the Bible:

Joya is knowledgeable about both classical matters and innovative approaches, as illustrated by the following authorial profiles.

Original Thinkers: Joya works harmoniously with authors who make new fusions of opposite beliefs or things, e.g. orthodox believers who write about heretics and outsiders (without dogmatic bias); “spiritual but not religious” writers who take the Bible seriously; the Zen Buddhist who studies Jesus; or the Jew who recovers lost prayer techniques for contemporary audiences.

Inspired Visionaries and Mystics: Joya has an affinity for books that aim not merely to inform readers but also to transform souls. Whether an inspirational narrative, a mystical treatise, a biography of an exemplary figure (e.g. a prophet), a series of interviews, or a report about extraordinary experiences, such works add mystery and meaning to the mundane.

Theologians and Biblical Interpreters: Joya is well versed in traditional questions raised by Christians and Jews. Innovative methods (e.g. feminist, interfaith, multicultural), equally, earn her dedicated attention.

Researchers and Academics: Joya’s specialized expertise, which includes languages (ancient and modern) and research modalities, qualifies her to assist scholars to write nonfiction books for niche or mainstream audiences.

Having spent years in libraries, Joya loves words and books. A potent book can save people from every difficulty, grave or shallow. Books mediate between the past and the future. They preserve the legacy of our civilization, and they spark lasting change.

Notes and Links

*Joya’s biblical scholarship: In her research about the trial of Jesus, Joya argues against anti-Semitic interpretations that blame “the Jews,” collectively, for the crucifixion of Jesus. Instead, the trial of Jesus in the Gospels reflects accusations of false prophecy and magic, which were brought against Jesus in the early Church. These accusations put Jesus in league, allegedly, with groups of religious professionals in the early Roman empire, who were deemed illicit or seditious (e.g. prophets, holy men and women, astrologers, magicians, and the like).

Please find samples of Joya’s articles below.

Articles: Biblical

The Female Jesus: Early Christian Visionaries

The Prophet Ezekiel: Visionary and Shaman

The Horoscope of Jesus

The Angel of Beauty: Gen 32:22-30

Articles: Publishing

Religion, Christianity, and Spirituality: Traditional and Self-Publishing Options

Recent Lecture Series (short descriptions): Female Prophets

Two Faces of Biblical Female Prophets, Part I

Many of us equate prophecy with the classical (male) prophets of Israel (e.g. Jeremiah, Isaiah). In this two-part series, we will dig out evidence about female prophets of the Bible, whose legacies are sometimes buried underneath discrediting stereotypes (e.g. a reputation for ecstasy or witchcraft). Miriam, Huldah, the Witch of Endor, and the unnamed “soul catchers” in Ezekiel will all be considered.

Not only will we excavate historical facts, about these prophetic women, we will also reflect upon literary and theological methods for assessing their impact upon our lives of faith as Christians.

Two Faces of Biblical Female Prophets, Part 2

In this two-part continuation of our four- part series on female prophets in the Bible and early Christianity, we will investigate the Corinthian women prophets (in 1 Corinthians), the Pythian slave girl (in the Book of Acts), the ecstatic female seers of the 2nd century Montanist movement (as described in selected church texts), and the prophetic legacy of Perpetua, an early Christian female martyr (in the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas–a work quite probably based on the original diaries of Perpetua herself). Not only will we excavate historical facts, about these prophetic women, we will also reflect upon literary and theological methods for assessing their impact upon our spiritual lives, as Christians and allied friends.


“From day one Joya was amazing. She went way above what I expected. Writing my book became a joy because of my personal experience with my editor. Although we have different opinions, she never pushed her views on me—only offered a viewpoint to consider that my readers might hold. This helped me to think about the impact of my words. Joya is really a joy to work with!”

—GA December 2023

“For over 8 months I searched for an editor who possessed the depth and wealth of biblical knowledge I needed my editor to have—and then I found Joya Stevenson. She was able to expertly guide me through the drawing out, or writing, process because of her expertise in theological inquiry and cultural analysis of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and because of her ability to ask relevant and probing questions. Joya was extremely easy to work with, respected what I had to say, and challenged me in productive ways that made my manuscript much richer. I sincerely look forward to working with her again.”

—CB November 2023

“Joya was a Godsend!  I researched quite a number of editors and was drawn, if you will, to Joya.  As we spoke during our first conference, I was at peace and knew I had made the right decision.  She made me comfortable with her ease of speaking and her sense of humor.  She flawlessly guided me through the process and we began to work.  Her insights into the nature of readers and into my nature made me see the end zone clearly. We spoke often, so much so that we became friends.  She cares for the writer and draws the best out of him/her by being patient, understanding, yet forthright.  She’s a wonderfully talented editor and a wonderfully decent person.  5 stars if we’re rating!”

—HM October 2023

“Before Joya, I had a rough draft of my book with foggy ideas. She helped me transform it into a manuscript that a top-notch publisher accepted. Joya challenged me to improve my craft as a writer and expand my scholarly thoughts. She was like a coach, providing encouragement when needed and pushing me to work harder when I wanted to give up. She was also a treasure trove of refined thought and biblical insights. When I finished my manuscript, I felt a mix of emotions: relief that the three-year writing process was over and sadness that I was no longer working with Joya. I would miss our regular interactions. I hope to work with her again in the future. I highly recommend her without reservation.”

—JR October 2023

“Joya has been a real pleasure to work with on my book project. She is a highly skilled editor and qualified biblical scholar who was able to meet my needs in producing a book I could be proud of. In addition to her expertise, Joya went over and above in extending her time to make sure there were no loose ends in bringing my book to completion. There is not anyone I could recommend more highly than Joya. She has been a real blessing for which I am extremely grateful.”

—TJ October 2023

“Joya is an excellent developmental and content editor. I feel truly blessed to have found her.”

—EH May 2023

“Joya Stevenson guided me through a process that produced a good deal of results and benefits. In sharing her perspective, Joya was collaborative and encouraging. Her questions were insightful and pushed me to do the further work that was needed. Her editing was immense in scope and detail.”


“Joya’s editing skills and feedback proved to be beyond my expectations. She improved my manuscript and, most importantly, provided me with a new outlook on who I am as a writer. Her skills go beyond what is considered “book smart;” she incorporated life experiences and professional advice into her editing. Joya is a pleasure to work with. I am extremely satisfied with my experiences with this editing network.”


“In every aspect, Joya does a wonderful job. Her editing skills are excellent, in the mechanics of punctuation, grammar, fact checking, clarity, style and creativity. She has great insight. Joya enhances a book’s content, to bring out its best, without trying to change its meaning. She nudged me along when I needed it, and she taught me how to write more creatively. She is also very personable and easy to work with. My book is a polished product now, thanks to Joya. I highly recommend her to anyone who needs a spiritually open-minded editor and who does quality work. She is the best. I plan on using Joya again in the future.”


“I finished my review of your edit yesterday and want you to know how extremely happy I am with it. I felt like I was seeing a rough stone get polished into a shining gem that was literally coming to life. It’s so much what I hoped for! And I also like that the book is shorter now, without losing any of the message or story. Yay! Thank you so much for all your help and support. It’s made such a difference!”


“I could not be more satisfied with the work Joya did for me.”


“It has been a wonderful experience. This process has really helped my writing come to life.”


“I was not sure what to expect of an editor. After all, I was writing my first-ever book and it was rough around the edges. I needed developmental and content editing; plus I needed my editor to have deep biblical knowledge. The help I received from Joya far exceeded my expectations. She took the time to fully understand the goal and scope of my writing. In addition to answering my many questions, she shared a wealth of theological resources with me. She always took plenty of time to explain her edits and made sure the results met my expectations. I am thrilled with the results. I now have written a book that I am proud to share with others. This would not have been possible without her help. I highly recommend this consultant.”


“My best move in writing my historical fiction novel was to employ Joya Stevenson as my helper. Not only did she correct the inaccuracies in my content, but she guided me in the right directions for a better story altogether—including my proposed pitch to a publisher. She’s worth every penny I paid her.”


Your Free Gift!

Your Free Gift!

Self-publishing means keeping track of all the details. Your free checklist will help ensure that your self-publishing efforts are a success.

Subscribe and get it now.

You have Successfully Subscribed!