Me: Tell me what inspired you to start writing.
There are several inspirations for my writing. I have always been a quiet person who loved to read. When I felt down or felt the need to express myself, I would write in my diary, journal, or notebook.
The central turning point in knowing I wanted to be an author was after I read Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. This book was set-apart from other books I had read because the books in school didn’t teach about black family life, black history, and where black people fit in the world’s history. After I devoured the Logan family series, I knew I wanted to be a writer and that I wanted to focus on black life in particular.
Me: How long have you been writing?
Yecheilyah: I have been writing since I was twelve years old. I started with poetry and then transitioned to write short stories. I published my first collection of poetry in 2010, my first novel in 2012, and have been publishing since then.
Me: In your opinion, what was the hardest part of writing your books?
Yecheilyah: The most challenging part of writing the book for me (fiction) is writing the end. There is a lot of talk about starting a book but not enough about finishing it. I am more of a pantser than a planner, but I am finding myself outlining more than I did at the beginning of my writing career because if the writer does not know the end from the beginning, it could be challenging to close.
For readers who aren’t familiar, a pantser is someone who doesn’t plan out everything in the story. They write as they go. The term comes from “fly by the seat of their pants.” A planner is someone who outlines and plans out their story before they write it. I am a combination of both depending on the story.
Me: What advice would you give to an upcoming writer?
Yecheilyah: The most important advice I could give an upcoming writer is to start. Begin. If you want to publish a book one day, start by writing it. I hate to make it sound so overly simplistic, but the reality is the publishing process can be overwhelming. There is so much advice out there, some sound and some questionable that it is easy to get frustrated. New writers tend to spend a lot of time digging up information on how to write a book that they never actually get to the writing. Set some time aside to dedicate to writing your book. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Fifteen minutes a day could work wonders. Is it easier to write in the early morning? Late at night? At lunch? Figure it out and commit to a schedule that works for you. It doesn’t matter if you intend to publish Traditionally or Independently; you can’t publish anything until the book is written. Write the book first.
Me: What are you hoping people gain from reading your books?
Yecheilyah: I hope that my books could empower people to seek a deeper understanding of black history beyond the classroom and mainstream media. I hope readers will find such inspiration and strength in the literature that it compels them to make positive and lasting changes in their own lives.
Me: Do you have any new books coming out?
Yecheilyah: Yes! I have several works in progress, but the book I am most excited about at the moment is my first urban fantasy novel. I started writing The Women with Blue Eyes: Rise of the Fallen in 2017 on my blog, and I did not have intentions of publishing it, but readers loved it! Week after week, I posted a new chapter, and it was a lot of fun getting immediate feedback and understanding what readers loved the most. It got to the point where I decided to publish it as a full-length novel. I am pivoting a bit because I typically write Black Historical Fiction and Poetry. While there will be black history in this book, I am excited about this new direction and journey into a different genre.
Me: How can your books be purchased?
Yecheilyah: My books are available for purchase through my author website, Amazon, Barnes, and Noble, and everywhere else books are sold. I have provided the links below!
Yecheilyah: My annual poetry contest will resume this year! Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest will kick off this spring during National Poetry Month. Details of the competition are forthcoming. I am also working on a Black History Anthology that compiles all of the Black History Fun Fact Friday articles from the blog into one volume.
Me: Please share your media pages for new fans that you would like to share.
Amazon Author Page