-- World of Writing --
* Shout out to public relations agent Alli Russo of AlliRussoPR.com
Today's featured author interview is with Yolanda M. Smothers - a native Floridian, married mother of two. She loves to encourage mainly women, and when you read her book(s), you will see how she does not mind sharing her life mistakes, heartaches and triumphs - all to encourage you. And while she encourages you - she will also be encouraging herself. Plus Sized Girls Gone Wild is an inspirational book to help plus-sized women gain the confidence to feel comfortable in their own skin. Yolanda, who is also plus-sized all her life, felt compelled to write the book to help women feel better about being plus-sized. Women are beautiful no matter what is the motto and it is this author's aim to encourage you to not feel ashamed to be who you are!
To be bluntly honest I had never had a desire to write at all much past a simple sentence or paragraph for school or work purposes; however, I have been writing all of my life as far back as I can recollect. Writing came natural to me because it allowed me to express my feelings without getting knocked-down by backhand or expelled from school for disobedience - And not that I was raised in an abusive home but I knew what and what not to say to my parents, and how far to go at school. At first I thought that I was just writing for writing and sanity sake but I learned that there was a peace after writing and I came to write as a profession and not just for therapy purposes.
Q: How does writing help you make a difference in the world?
Making a difference in the world comes through and by many standards because some do it by giving their time to a homeless shelter, while others do it by becoming doctors and choosing to risk their own lives to travel across borders and oceans to give of themselves to fight a deadly disease like Ebola. My gift is meant to heal and make whole a withering soul that seeks to hear a word of encouragement to give them cause to want to go on in life regardless of what they may encounter or be facing at a certain interval in life and in my words they find – Life.
Q: Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a query letter or project proposal?
Typically editors look for an angle or dynamic to a book that speaks to a broad audience versus a specific niche’ or genre; such as editor Molly Friedrich who is touted as the catalyst for the discovery of an up-and-coming author; and forward thinking so much so, to get behind a project for an unknown author named Terry McMillan who gave a voice to what women in general were going through in our lives and relationships and she was the mid-wife to the birthing of “Waiting To Exhale”; which sold millions of copies and had so much commercial success that it was made into cinematic history that reached more than your average readers and was even more prosperous than the book itself. The book crossed boundaries of colors and creeds and reached down to the heart of the matter. Terry McMillan being African-American and Molly Friedrich being a Caucasian were able to find a medium wherein they were able to understand each other and their individual vision because when we understand that we are all the same and contending with life’s challenges and crusades - one day at a time, we realize that we have a commonality that supersedes all the hang ups we tend to like to hang our hats on in society.
Q: What do you do when you are not writing?
Dreaming and hoping is what led me to writing and thus writing inspires me to dream and hope even the more. So when I am not writing and jotting down thoughts, I am in a thought process or form of meditation to find inspiration to write on and live on. Focusing on what is not as I would like - is not what I choose to lend my attention to. When negative thoughts enter in and seek to arrest my focus, I know that the transitions of life that will continue to take place because change in all things: time, age, relationships – all the way through to daily life is in constant shift and if we are to evolve and overcome, we must be willing and not against the process called – Change.
Q: What gave you the idea (inspiration) for this book?
My fourth book Plus Size Girlz Gone Wild! came to be out of a growing, gnawing frustration of witnessing women giving up their personal integrity for a sense of belonging. Belonging where? I still don’t think that many of them know where it is that they want to be and so they go along with the flow of the culture that people will accept them more if they wore this or that. And now what they once railed against in pop-culture of being left-out when being considered by designers and fashion in general – they are now compromising even more and now the “Mean Girl” mentality has filtered its way into the plus size world and instead of it being a sisterhood as it started out to be has now become the sorority that most women feared and fought against when it was fat vs. skinny.
When first taking up the task to start the project of writing my book is making sure that I stay true to the reason that I was moved to the topic I wanted to address in the first place. I cannot allow to many voices or images in my head while trying to plot out the structure of the book because if I do, I find myself using words that are not my own and ideas that don’t truly represent what it is that I want to address to the reading audience. Therefore, I would say that my greatest challenge is – Me. I must draw on that passion that made me sit straight up in my chair or the bed and say, “this is a great book idea”. I allow that point to be the nucleus and try and not allow the carcinogens to take a hold and cancerous thoughts begin to destroy the life that wants to get out of me in book form.
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