Thursday, September 16, 2010
Authors On The Rise Is proud to bring you an interview with author Yvonne Pierre. Read this powerful Interview and be inspired. Enjoy!
AOTR: Briefly tell us about yourself and your book.
Yvonne: Sure, my name is Yvonne Pierre, proud mom of two boys ages 17 and 8. Over the past few years, I have been focused on advocating positive special needs awareness through various online projects. My passion for the disabled community stems from my own experience of having a child with special needs. My youngest son was diagnosed with Down syndrome after birth. I am also passionate about using my voice to inspire those who have went through some of the struggles I have. Just recently, I launched a memoir called, “The Day My Soul Cried.” The book is about the process I went through to overcome many trials from child abuse, financial struggles to personal battles such as reading, ups and downs with weight and self-esteem. To sum it up, I’m a mom, advocate, entrepreneur, first time author and soon to be filmmaker.
AOTR: Why did you decide to write, The Day My Soul Cried?
Yvonne: Initially, I started off writing another book. I wanted to write an inspirational book, but I was struggling to write it. I couldn’t find my voice. During this time, I started to question why it was so hard for me to write it. I think I rewrote that book several times before I realized why I was running away from writing it and completing other projects. I was standing in my own way and I didn’t feel I was worthy of success. I had a breakdown period. It was placed on my spirit that this internal struggle was “The Day My Soul Cried.” The book pretty much found me and wrote itself. That is what the book is about: the internal struggles I faced that were preventing me from moving forward in life, until the day my soul cried.
AOTR: What do you hope readers will take away after they have finished your book?
Yvonne: I think everyone will walk away with something different. I have been through a lot in a small amount of time and I believe that one of the reasons God pulled me through was to be a testimony of hope. Dee, my hope is that readers who are struggling with self-acceptance and self-worth are able to read my story and walk away with a sense of empowerment and inspiration in their journey to never give up on themselves. I hope that they are able to face their circumstances with a new perspective about facing and overcoming adversity.
AOTR: Being that your book is a memoir, was it painful writing it? If so how did you overcome it?
Yvonne: I don’t think I’ve ever shared this publically - during the time I was writing the book, we were financially struggling badly. I kept praying to God and asking Him what He needed me to do and His response was to finish the book. I fought it. But the process of writing this book helped me get through. It reminded me of what all God has already brought me through. To answer the question, no, it wasn’t painful. Yes, I cried and had to walk away several times, not because it was painful, it was tears of joy.
AOTR: Tell us about your journey to publication and the obstacles you faced?
How did you move past them?
Yvonne: Years ago, with my first “attempt” to write a book, I took time to study the publishing industry knowing that I wanted to start my own publishing company. So, as far as publishing that went fine, but the biggest obstacle I had to face with publishing was getting over my fear to do it. I’m sure you could attest to this Dee, but fear is natural; to overcome it is to just go through it despite the fear. Thinking of myself as an author or publishing a book was too much pressure for me. I’m not sure how to explain it, but right now I’m in school working on my MBA and I’m cranking out 3 to 4 reports a week and not finishing is not an option. I had to look at completing this book the same way. I had to look at it as a task or assignment that had to be done.
AOTR: Describe how it felt the first time you saw your book in print.
Yvonne: It felt good, but I guess because I also run the publishing company too and working on all aspects of the business, being an “author” haven’t hit me yet.
AOTR: Please tell us about Have Ya Heard.
Yvonne: As I mentioned, I have two sons and my youngest son, Zyon was diagnosed with Down syndrome after birth. Prior to him reaching school age, I wasn’t involved with any kind of support group. When Zyon was diagnosed we were told mostly what he cannot and will not be able to do. The doctor told us that he will not be a contribution to society and offer us to join a support group. My perception of a support group was a bunch of parents having a pity party and I didn’t want to be a part of that because I did not feel that way about my son. Since then, my perception changed but to make a long story short, when Zyon turned three, I started to seek out support groups to find out what other parents experiences were with public special education. I joined several Yahoo online groups and after reading many of the comments from parents who saw their own children in a negative light, I was heartbroken.
After reading too many heartbreaking stories, I cried for a couple of weeks. I could not believe that parents felt this way about their own children. I went online to research inspirational stories of individuals with Down syndrome and I came across so many powerful stories. I questioned, “Why aren’t these stories being told?” So, in November of 2004 that was the birth of “Have Ya Heard the Abilities of Downs.” I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew parents needed to hear about these success stories - people with Ds who were college grads, self-advocates, artists, musicians and so on. Since then, I dropped the name to simply “Have Ya Heard” to include all disabilities. HYH online is a community for parents, caregivers and loved ones and it’s an online magazine.
AOTR: What inspires and motivates you to continue to do all that you do?
Yvonne: Dee, as you know, there are so many hurting people. At one point, I had to stop watching the news, answering my phone because it was so overwhelming to the point it kept me up at night. I will continue to produce products such as book, online works and soon film to empower others. Although it is not easy, giving up is not an option because it’s absolutely not about me. I feel the things that God places on my spirit to do, must be done.
AOTR: Do you have a motto? Please share it with us.
Yvonne: My motto is that whether the adversity I face is a test from God or the enemy trying to break me, either way I have to learn, grow and be strengthened by it. I refuse to be defeated.
AOTR: What is the best advice someone gave you?
Yvonne: The best advice I’ve received was to use my fears to my advantage.
AOTR: What words of encouragement would you give to someone who may be going through someE- of the same issues you wrote about in your memoir?
Yvonne: Because of what we go through, sometime we end up hurting ourselves more. I would say to someone who’s been through or going through any form of adversity that you owe it to yourself to forgive, heal and let go. No one or nothing is worth your sanity and peace. In order to move forward you have to let go and reach for yourself. Don’t allow the enemy to win. When we hold on to the pain and hurt, we’re not hurting the other person; we end up standing in our own way.
AOTR: When you are not writing what other things do you enjoy doing?
Yvonne: Aside from school and working on other projects, which I love too… I love spending time with my significant other and my children. And I’m pretty simple, as long as there is either a good movie, laughing, a good conversation, music, dancing, and food, I’m good.
AOTR: What do you want your legacy to be?
Yvonne: Wow, my legacy, hmmm. I will be launching a film production company next year and I would love for my legacy to be that I produce some ground breaking documentaries, film, books and other projects that made a difference.
AOTR: How can readers find out more information on you and your books?
Yvonne: You’ve asked some great questions that I had to ponder on and I would like to thank you Dee for the opportunity. I truly appreciate it. But to answer the question, the best place for readers to find out more information is through my website www.ypierre.com. Thanks Dee!
AOTR: Thank you Yvonne for this powerful interview, and for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with Authors On The Rise. We wish you much success in all your future endeavors!
AOTR: We wish you continued success!
YVONNE'S 10 FAVORITES
Day of the week: Saturday
City: Los Angeles (nice place to visit, but I’ll never live there)
CD: “The Fight of My Life” by Kirk Franklin
Book: “In the Meantime” by Iyanla Vanzant
Ice cream: Butter Pecan (sugar free)
Social networking site: Facebook
Vacation spot: A nice quite hotel room, anywhere
Friend: Steffan, my fiancé, we’ve been through a lot over the past 12 years we’ve been together but through it all our friendship grew and we have both proven that we have each others best interest at heart.
Food: It’s hard to pick one; I would say it’s a tie between Soul and Mexican food.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Authors On The Rise is delighted to bring you an interview with author Nahisha Mccoy. Please pick up a copy of her book and support this talented author.
AOTRen did you know you wanted to be an author?
Nahisha: A couple of years ago, however I used to write short stories and plays when I was in public school.
AOTR:Please share with us about your journey to publication. Was it a hard road? What struggles, if any, did you face?
Nahisha: My journey was a nice one actually. I was an avid reader and I read “No Exit” by Al Saadiq Banks. I was so upset the way that he ended the book, so I wrote him about it. We kept in contact for a while. I told him about the book that I was writing and he offered to read it. He helped me out with fine-tuning it and during the time that he was pushing his books he gave me a shout in one of his interviews. We continued to keep in contact and four years later he told me about a woman that he knew who started her own publishing company. Her name is Crystal “Lace” Winslow. At the time I was reading her book, “Love, Lies, and Loneliness”. He told me that he would make a call to her about me and the rest is History.
AOTR: Why did you write your book, and where did the ideal for this story come from?
Nahisha: I wrote this book because I was going through some rough times in my personal life. I just got out of an eight-year abusive relationship that left me emotionally and financially bankrupt. I had no where to turn, and I couldn’t really talk to anybody about what I was feeling without them giving me their input on how I should feel or what they would do if they were in my shoes. So I started writing, and writing until all of my pain was on paper.
AOTR: Share your writing process. Are you a plotter, or do you write what enters your mind? What aspect of writing do you love? What aspect do you loathe?
Nahisha: I am not a plotter. I am the type of writer that write what I feel will make people say, “Damn, I’ve been there or I am there now.” I love the fact that when I write, there is nothing else there but me, a pen, and my notebook or laptop. I love knowing that when I write, I don’t have to be politically correct. I can be whomever, or whatever I chose to be. I loathe, not being able to write faster.
AOTR: Tell us about the characters in your book and what type of issues they faced.
Nahisha: Naheema, the story’s protagonist, is ready, willing, and able to be at the beck and call for the charismatic Mike but she soon awakens from her love high. Unknowingly playing the game of Russian Roulette, she realizes that her dark knight has become a nightmare. In a series of rapid events, Naheema is forced into situations that are so reprehensible that she doesn’t think she has the strength to emerge with her sanity still intact. The abuse, affairs, lies, and betrayal are enough to push any woman to the brink of losing it all. There are other characters but I’d be giving away the story line if I went any further.
AOTR: Did you struggle to write any of the characters? If so, why? Which character was the easiest to write? Which was the hardest? Did you have a favorite character? Tell us why?
Nahisha: Yes, I struggled with all of them. However, Mike was the hardest because I had to get in the mind of a man who is so charming, evasive, debonair, and cruel. I had to reach into his mind and be him in order to write his character. Seriously, for a whole month, I was walking around my apartment pretending to be this character. Shadina was the easiest to write because she was basically the support. The friend that’s always there when you need them, I wrote her character based off of the type of woman I am. Naheema was another hard character to write. She was me and I was her in another life. I say “was” because Naheema is a woman like many of us women today that have the whole, “I can do bad all by myself” motto, until she meets that one man who makes her say, “to hell with doing bad by myself.” Writing Naheema, means I had to take apart my life and ask myself the hardest question that most abused women can’t answer “Why?” I had to dig deep inside of me to find out why did I stay so long, why did I accept so much knowing that I would lose so much in the end. Why? Which is one of the hardest questions you can ask any woman whose been in a relationship that was horrendous.
My favorite character is Chyna because she’s everything that I’m afraid of. She’s every woman worse nightmare. She’s the one that will have your man giving away all of his assets. She’s the one that will have you calling her in the middle of the night to ask if your man can come home to be with his family. She’s the one that every body loves to hate.
AOTR: Which characters do you think your readers will relate to the most. Why?
Nahisha: I think that my readers will be able to relate to one or all of the characters in some way or another. The females, I believe will relate to Naheema because she is apart of all of us. Naheema is a form of all women that’s ever been in a physically damaging relationship. But the men will relate to Mike or Randy because in some way both of these men are in all men.
AOTR: Were there any important lessons you were trying to convey through your story? If so, please tell us about them.
Nahisha: Yes there are. One lesson that I’ve learned just from living the experience as well as writing about it is, we as women need to really learn to love ourselves before we try to love a man. I say this because I’ve heard women say, “Please, I love myself,” but do they really. To love oneself is more than just wearing the expensive outfits, jewelry, fast cars, and best make-up products. Loving yourself is about accepting the flaws that we have, looking in the mirror without the make-up mask, loving the blotches, the extra love handles, and loving the confidence that you exude. Once you can do all of that, and do it with humility then and only then can you truly love yourself, and give love to another.
AOTR: With so many book on the market, what sets your book apart?
Nahisha: The fact that it’s not glorifying the streets or the street life but it’s showing you that this is life from the woman’s perspective. The woman who has a degree, that has a job, has her own place, but got involved with the wrong man. My book is about every woman at any age that has dealt with this type of relationship.
AOTR: What next? Are you working on another book or any other upcoming projects?
Nahisha: I am working on another book that deals with Domestic Violence but in a fictional sense. We all know and hear about Domestic Violence, but I’m bringing it to your doorstep, to your house, apartment, Condo’s and jobs. I’m bringing it to you in a way that every time you step out your door or hear the neighbors screaming you’re going to know what’s going on. I’m going to hit your homes with a force so hard, you’ll see DV everywhere.
AOTR: Where do you desire to be ten years from now in your writing career?
Nahisha: Ten years from now I want to have at least five best-sellers, as well as open my own Theater house. I want to see my plays up on Broadway.
AOTR: How can readers find out more information about you and your book?
Nahisha: They can go to www.melodramapublishing.com, or www.amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, Borders, wherever books are sold. You can also hit my inbox on Face book, Twitter.com, myspace.com, Ning.com.
AOTR: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. We wish you much success!
Nahisha's ten favorites:
Piece of clothing- I don’t have a favorite, because I wear what I can afford and what looks nice on me.
Beauty product- Lip glass by Mac
Superhero- Wonder-woman, She-Ra,
Dessert- Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Godiva Chocolate
Color- Brown, Tan, Blue, Black, Green
Actor- Bill’s Cosby, Denzel Washington, Nia Long
Restaurant- Shark Bar
Teacher.- Mrs. Washington my fifth and sixth grade teacher. Why? She was very instrumental in my writing. Because of her, I enjoyed writing and reading it to my classmates. Every Friday morning during study time, Mrs. Washington made it her business to have me write, and read a new story that I wrote to my classmates and then we would have discussions about the story. Because of her, I my spelling increased, and I was entered into our spelling bee contest that the school used to have.
Quote: Don’t determine my worth by what you see on the outside. Determine it by understanding the wisdom and knowledge that was blessed, to me, by the man above, on the inside. I am Nahisha, an author, a poet, and a mother. I am Me.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Authors On The Rise Is proud to bring you an interview from the talented author, Beverly Taylor. Enjoy!
AOTR: Please tell us about yourself and your books.
Beverly: Hello, Dee Dee and thank you for the invitation.
I was brought up in a Christian-family environment and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of sixteen. I didn’t know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior until my early thirties. I have two wonderful children and two adorable grandbambinas. I live in metro Atlanta. I am a licensed counselor/therapist and the founder of Chastity House, a residential facility for disadvantaged teen girls. Our goal is that they are positioned and equipped to one day have a successful career, spiritual enrichment, healthy marriage and family relationships.
I’ve authored 7 books: My first novel is entitled Waiting to Exit Hell (a metamorphosis of sort); Woman Take Your Position (a nonfiction); Lust of the Flesh (church fiction); Foolish Virgin (Christian teen novel); It’s Me I See (children’s book); God In Me (children’s Book); Desires of the Heart (Christian/Romance Fiction). I also write under the pseudonym Beverly Rolyat (Taylor spelled backwards). Rolyat novels are “mirror” books written for the carnal minded individuals, as a way for them to see themselves through the characters and as a result, make a change in their lives. Beverly Taylor books are written to encourage the spiritual minded.
AOTR: Did you always want to be a writer?
Beverly: Not really. However, I’ve always been an avid reader from the time I learned to read. My favorite child author was Beverly Cleary.
AOTR: What age did you first begin writing?
Beverly: I was the editor of my high school newspaper.
AOTR: Where did the ideal for your first book come from? What inspired you to complete it?
Beverly: My first book was a mixture of fiction and nonfiction combined, inspired by some personal events. My current release, Desires of the Heart, was inspired by the actions of women at a conference I attended a while back. I spoke at a church’s women’s function which the theme was “Improving Your Image.” The ethnic composition consisted of substantially white female, a few black women and a handful of Latino women. Nearly one-third of the attendees had some sort of cosmetic surgery, whether breast or buttocks enlargements, nose reduction, facelift, Botox, collagen injections, liposuction, gastro bypass, tummy tuck, chin lift, permanent eyebrow stencils, permanent eye-liner stencils, bleached skin, etc. You name it, they had it done. These were Christian women, some were even Evangelists, Ministers, Pastors and Deaconnesses. Some gave their testimonies that they had their appearance enhanced to appease their husbands, some did it for themselves to improve their self-esteem, and some teased and stated they did it to get a man (preferably a young one).
AOTR: Please share your Journey on how you became a published author.
Beverly: I kept a mental journal on events in my life and some I wrote into a diary. As years progressed, I shared some of my stories with family and friends and they thought it would make for a good story. I pumped out a manuscript and was in search for a publisher. I received one acceptance letter and the rest were rejections. I decided to self-publish. As a self-publisher, you become the entire publishing house—the manager of every department—wearing many hats.
AOTR: After you wrote your first book, did you have a hard time moving on to write the next one? Was there pressure to write a better book than the first? If so, how did you handle it?
Beverly: Absolutely. Pressure was there for me to write a sequel to Lust of the Flesh. I didn’t realize that so many people read the book and enjoyed it. I sold several units and I wanted to self-publish the sequel, Lust of the Eyes, but financially and physically, it wasn’t possible. With little effort, I shopped both books around for a publishing house but came out empty. As a result, I shelved Lust of the Eyes until I can find a house or agent for it.
AOTR: Have you ever suffered from writers block? If so, how did you get over it? How do you keep creative juices flowing?
Beverly: I have a love for the written word. As a counselor, writing nonfiction is therapeutic. I’ve never had writer’s block, per se. However, I have been in a position where I struggled with composing a comprehensive chapter.
AOTR: Do you plot out your stories or are they character driven?
Beverly: I write in the Christian fiction genre and my stories are character driven. However, my favorite genre is mystery and suspense. I’d love to sit one day and write a plot for a Christian mystery/suspense novel.
AOTR: Do your books deal with any important social issues?
Beverly: I think so. In my novel, Lust of the Flesh, it dabbled in racial equality and transgender issues. Desires of the Heart deals with self-esteem/personal appearances.
AOTR: Do the stories you write come from your imagination, or do you mix in some of your life with it?
Beverly: Only in my first novel attempt did I combine the effort of fiction and some reality.
AOTR: Name some of your favorite characters from your books and tell us why?
Beverly: In Lust of the Flesh, I enjoyed Paula. She is quite the peacemaker and the glue that holds the family together, along with her dedication to loving God.
In Desires of the Heart, my favorite and probably everyone else is Natalie Harper. Natalie is the wife of a prominent medical doctor. As such, one would think a wife of this statue would possess a meek, quiet and reserve spirit. Not Natalie. She’s one to tell it like it is (with tact and diplomacy, of course). Then there’s Detective Freeman. A man any women would love to love. He’s warm, kind and considerate.
In Foolish Virgin, I enjoyed Kirsten’s character. She is fresh, feisty and fearless.
AOTR: In a few words, tell a reader why they should pick your book next.
Beverly: Carson is suffering with depression; Katharine has insecurity issues. However, the ballet plays an important role in her life — as a means of expression, as a way to console, as a way to mark significant moments; Cindy is dealing with mental illness (which is the root of her promiscuity); and Deanna’s loneliness and craving for a father causes her to commit criminal activities. It is my desire to enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate readers that changing who you are on the outside does not remove who you are on the inside; in addition, to demonstrate how making selfish decisions can personally affect each member of the household in a detrimental way. The questions in the Readers’ Discussion Guide at the end of the story will stimulate discussion for reading groups and provide a deeper understanding of Desires of the Heart for every reader.
AOTR: If one of your books was made into a movie, what actors would you like to play the characters?
Beverly: In my most recent release, Desires of the Heart, I’d love for Angela Bassett to play Katharine; Idris Elba to play Carson; Jenifer Lewis to play Natalie, Lamman Rucker (he is so handsome) to play Detective Freeman, and Gabrielle Union to play Cindy.
AOTR: What upcoming projects are you working on?
Beverly: I’m working on a three-in-one novel entitled “The Sweetest Day Ever.” This novel will consist of three Christian romance stories about that infamous Midwestern holiday, Sweetest Day. It is a holiday primarily celebrated in the states of Ohio, Illinois and Michigan, and to these Midwesterners, it is more sacred than Saint Valentine’s Day itself. This romantic holiday is celebrated on the third Saturday in the month of October. I believe it will be a popular read for all romance genres as it will introduce this special holiday to Southern, Northern, East and West Coast readers who are unfamiliar with the Midwestern October occasion.
AOTR: What is one thing readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Beverly: I’m an NBA fan and an NBA playoffs fanatic. I love the game!
AOTR: If you were not a writer, what would you be?
Beverly: A kindergarten teacher.
AOTR: Where do you hope to be in your writing career five years from now?
Beverly: Screenwriting and hopefully working on my 12th or 13th book, provided I can write one book per year.
AOTR: How can readers find out more information about you and your books?
Beverly: Please visit my website at: www.beverlytaylorbooks.com
AOTR: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with Authors On The Rise! We wish you much success!
Beverly: Thank you Dee Dee for the interview and much blessings and success in your endeavors.
Beverly's 10 favorites:
Book genre: Mystery/Suspense
Snack: Pistachio Nuts
Pastime: Watching basketball games—on any level
Fruit: Sweet green grapes
Drink: Pepsi and Crystal Light Peach Tea
Author: Novelist, Sandra Brown
Holiday: Thanksgiving and the Fall season
Quote: “Is there anything too hard for God?”
Childhood memory: Roller skating at the neighborhood rink
Television show: I Love Lucy; The Golden Girls.