Occasionally on the blog we will talk with one of our author friends, gaining valuable insights into their behind the scene world. Today we meet with Yecheilyah Ysrayl, an extraordinary writer and book blogger, among other things.
Join me as we delve deep – or as deep as we can in 21 Questions; not everybody gives up the goods – with Yecheilyah.
- DAN: Welcome to the blog! What is the working title of your next book?
Yecheilyah: Thank you, Dan, for having me. The working title for my next book is Renaissance and it’s Book One in The Nora White Story. It releases in 116 days, 15 hours, 30mins and 40 seconds from now. Not that you care.
- That’s more precise than my alarm clock! Tell me, how hard was it to hit that “Publish” button the first time and send your book into the world? Looking back, what can you tell new authors about that experience?
It wasn’t hard at all because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing! My first real book was my first collection of poetry and all I cared about was seeing my poems in print. I also wanted to have a compilation of them aside from my notebooks so I thought, “Why not?” So, I uploaded the unedited copy of poems to Lulu with a Lulu ready-made cover and published it, waited for the proof to come in the mail and did a nice little happy dance when it did. I don’t even know if I comprehended the magnitude of what just happened or if I fully understood what Self-Publishing was. As I look back despite how mediocre the work was, it still reached someone. So, what would I tell new authors about this experience? Get out there! Sure, you may start off sucking (I still suck) but there’s no next time without the first time. Go for it, why not?
- Time and effort = sucking less. We all improve with each story. What kind of kid were you in high school?
The boring kind. I literally did nothing. And if I did something it was only the most boring thing. For instance, I joined the Year Book Team. Who does that? Except it wasn’t really a team considering it was just me and the teacher but team sounds better. I did get out of class a lot, though, that was cool. Got to follow the cool kids around with my camera. Oh, and poetry. I joined a poetry club with some other nerds. I think it was like five of us? No, seven. OK, ten. Definitely ten. I think. Anyway, UMOJA Spoken Word was the name of it. Otherwise, I spent my time reading. Real exciting.
- Have you ever broken a bone?
Actually, yes. Yes, I did break a bone. I was hit by a car running across the street trying to get ice cream when I was ten and broke my leg. No, I’m not making this up. True story. So, the ice cream truck is singing down the street and I’ve got a dollar (a WHOLE dollar) burning a hole in my pocket. So, I decide I’m just going to run across the street really quick and buy some ice cream. Now, I have a twin sister and she told me not to go but I’m the oldest by 5 minutes. I didn’t have to listen to her. Anyway, ended up getting hit, broke my femur bone got a steel plate put in and 24 surgical staples. I have both the scar and the steel plate right now. The plate will be there for life and I suppose so will the scar.
- Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?
Of course, you can wash light and dark together! I mean, do people still separate clothes? Like, is that still a thing? I don’t know. But yes, of course.
- What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
Wow, there are many. Some of the most prevalent are probably that we are all mediocre in production, know nothing about publishing, and that we spend all our time on social media. That’s alright. Keep underestimating us. We’ll keep making Best Seller’s lists and drink red wine while Hollywood turn our Self-Published books into movies.
- What’s something most readers would never guess about you?
Hmmm. Probably that I don’t drive. Yet. Alright, everyone can stop laughing now. But yea, that.
8 . I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
You mean other than the 116 days, 15 hours, 30 mins and 40 seconds from now that my next book is coming out? Besides this, I have teamed up with some exciting groups that I hope will help better my understanding of book publishing and expand my ability to be of service to the community and one of them is Rave Reviews Book Club. I decided to go ahead and apply and have recently become a member. I am excited to get started and to learn.
- What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?
It depends. Is there wine? Because if there’s wine I prefer late nights when the house is sleep. That way I can talk to myself and not have to explain why. If there is no wine but there’s coffee, I prefer the early mornings for the same reason.
- Coffee addict? Name your poison.
I do need to be in AA for coffee. It wouldn’t be AA though huh? More like CA anonymous. Like, it really doesn’t make any sense. When I don’t have French Vanilla Cream I am even starting to make exceptions for drinking “when-you-just-have-some-sugar-and-some-powder-cream-but-it’s-still-nasty-so-it-may-as-well-be-black” coffee. Now you know that’s bad. Black coffee is disgusting.
11. Tell me about your first kiss. Did it make it into a book?
Wow, Dan. You’re digging deep aren’t ya?
My first kiss was the worst thing ever. It was like letting somebody slob on you. I hate even thinking about it. Yuck.
Next question, please.
12. What’s the best movie you have ever seen?
Oh, my gosh! OK. My most favorite movie is Lean on Me. Yassss. (“Free Mr. Clark!”) Of course, there are more profound movies than this but this one, in particular, I can watch every day, all day and not think about it. Just have it playing in the background. That is because it combines my two favorite things: Children and education. I love the little ones and anything that promotes something positive for them is close to my heart. It also helps that the movie is based on a true story which adds to my love for History.
13. Do you have any children?
I have two daughters. The world would call them my stepdaughters but I don’t really believe in that. If you are with someone, what is part of them is part of you. So, I have two beautiful daughters and a little grandbaby who is the cutest little baby EVER. I mean seriously, in the whole world. Otherwise, I have no children biologically. We are working on that, though. Stay tuned.
14. Are you married? How Long? How did you meet? Spill it!
OK, OK, sheesh. I met my husband back in 2007 at school and we were both in the same class. I was there by mistake. I was supposed to be in a different class but it was full so I had to take this one. So, we’re waiting for the professor to come (more like counting down the seconds before we would all just go home. How are you late on the first day?)
and in walks this cutie. I’m talking about, FINE. Ya’ll hear me? He had it going all the way on.
We all thought he was the teacher because of the way he took control. He told us we should put our names on a piece of paper so the teacher can know who was there. Smart AND sexy? Long story short, he became mine. May 16th will mark ten years we’ve been together.
15. What is one thing you always wished you could change about yourself?
I’m the most serious-sensitive person you’ve ever met! If there is one thing I could change it will be not to take things so personally. I tend to be very disciplined but my heart is soft. Don’t hurt my feelings, Dan. It wouldn’t be good.
16. How many story ideas are in your “good ideas” file? What are some of them?
Oh man, you really trying to have your readers here all night huh? Let’s see. I have tons of story ideas that I consider good but there’s a reason they are still in my file folder. First, there is Queen, a Historical Fiction story I started working years ago, set in 1619 about a young woman in Ghana who is getting ready to transition into womanhood. All the women of her village are about to undergo the exciting process of dating and being chosen to be wives, to wear long flowing dresses, bangles, and nose rings. But something happens. Before the sun rises on the next day the village is raided and the young woman is taken captive in what would be known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Then there is Carbon, a short story I started writing about a businessman who becomes wealthy off his fragrance enterprise. In short, his selective fragrance becomes the next Victoria’s Secret and the media is having a field day. A successful journalist is charged with interviewing him. She’s not impressed by his fame, at least not until he sweeps her off her feet. She discovers later that there is something weird about this man. After barely surviving his abuse she discovers this man is a clone. A carbon copy of another man. But will the rest of the world believe her?
17. Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?
I would buy drinks for Bloggers and Authors Lisa W. Tetting and Colleen Chesebro because they support everything that I do sincerely.
There are people who will support you but you can also tell their heart is not really in it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There’s something about you they just don’t get, maybe they think you’re an amateur or maybe they just don’t get you period.
Not these two. Lisa and Colleen support me for real. Not for fake. I would also buy drinks for Terry McMillian. Her books are the bomb, specifically I am attracted to her character development. I would love some insight on her process.
18. What kind of Chinese food do you order all the time?
I don’t eat Chinese Food. When I did, shrimp fried rice was my thing. I don’t eat shrimp anymore though. Plus, there’s this mental thing I have with Chinese Food. The restaurants are always next to pet hospitals. No offense if you’re Chinese. I’m just not a fan of the food.
19. How did your blog start?
I started my blog in 2014 randomly actually (Do I say “actually” a lot? Smh) I was blogging under another blog name, A House of Poetry, which was a poetry blog filled with nothing but poetry. Wait, I just said that. Anywho, when I came out with the book, Pearls Before Swine, I decided to start a blog under the same name. Over time the name took on a deeper meaning but that was the initial inspiration. Again, it’s all about getting out there. I would have never met you and the other awesome bloggers and authors in the blogosphere. Yes, Dan, I just called you awesome.
20. What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?
Keep your plans and intentions to yourself. There’s too much advice out here, some good and some not so good.
Either way, you will be confused and frustrated if you let everyone know your next move. Writing Secret: Keep both your income and next move to yourself.
21. What is the single most important quality in a novel; what must an author do to win you over?
The single, most important quality in a novel for me is relatable and realistic character development. Characters that act and speak like normal people would and makes decisions in like manner. I am turned off by characters who hate ice cream in Chapter One and in Chapter Two, after one person just convinced them, they love it. That’s not realistic. It will take a real person time to build up to it.
Important Stuff: The links
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