Blog Tour Week 2 – Meet Author Yolanda King Stephen

27 Dec

Round 2! The Coffeehouse Conversation Blog Tour Continues with another dynamic author who is making waves in the literary world. Introducing Yolanda King Stephen (Not MLK Jr.’s daughter! lol)

Book Title: The Upside of the Down Low, a Pastor’s Wife’s Memoir

Author’s Name: Yolanda King Stephen

ISBN’s: Softcover ISBN: 978-0-9836385-1-4, Kindle ISBN: 978-0-9836285-2-1

Short Book Synopsis:

    The Upside of the Down Low, a Pastor’s Wife’s Memoir is an autobiography following the life of a southern Baptist pastor’s wife, Yolanda Jacksyn. Turmoil and disorder ensue as she quickly finds out her affluent, positioned husband, Pastor Edgar Otis Jacksyn, III (PJ) is plagiarizing life in the pulpit. His parishioners love his candid, real-life preaching style and community leaders applaud his fresh ideas.

But at home PJ squanders money, lies about deadly health issues, and preys on unsuspecting young men. PJ’s trickery and deceitful ways finally walk through his front door and confronts Yolanda – in the form of a teenage boy PJ has been having sex with since the beginning of their marriage.

Not willing to deal with the outcome of his sordid past or succumb to the street or court summons, PJ chooses to end his own life where it began: on the church ground.

The Upside takes a vivid look at speculations surrounding church folk while shedding light on topics long considered taboo in communities across the country; depression, infidelity, and homosexuality.

 

Why did I write this book/inspiration behind it? Writing is one of my coping mechanisms, so my life inspired the words on the pages of the book. It was literally turned upside down when my late husband’s infidelities and down low happenings came knocking on my door and sat down in my living room. I never imagined the events that followed. After my husband took his own life I didn’t find any books on black suicide written in plain language that could help me cope with the loss of my husband in the manner he died, or the circumstances surrounding his death. My faith in God is what kept me sane through everything so when He gave me the words to write, I wrote The Upside of the Down Low, a Pastor’s Wife’s Memoir.

What makes The Upside different from other books? The Upside is real. It’s written in a manner to make you want to leap in the pages and be a part of the character’s life. It highlights areas that are taboo, and sometimes considered forbidden, from the pulpit and in the community – infidelity, homosexuality, depression, and suicide. These things are not relegated to one community, age bracket, profession, or race of people. And it’s all within the folds of The Upside.

What’s the hardest part about being an author? Many people believe that writing is the most difficult part, but the writing is the easy part. The hardest part is telling everyone about what you have written and being heard through the clutter. There are so many opportunities to tell the story that God has made my life and I want to take every one of them. But that’s not realistic. So, I have to weigh my time and options very carefully before over-committing myself. I’m thankful because my calendar fills up quickly, but sometimes I feel I need a clone!

What do you love most about being an author? I love sharing my story. I love speaking with other aspiring authors. I love having a passion and a great cause to show others, through writing, that as believers we are not shielded from the disruptions and disappointments in life. What matters most is how we get to the upside because there is always an upside.

My favorite author? Kimberla Lawson Roby. Her Curtis Black series still has me hooked. When I began reading her series I was in college and had no idea I would be writing about church folk. It’s funny how time brings one full circle.

My favorite book? Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I read this book in fifth grade. I felt I related to the main character. She prayed, she asked questions, and she was going through what most pre-teens go through. It opened a door for me to speak to God in a simple way. I still feel my prayers don’t have to be littered with big words and oversized thoughts. It can be modest and unpretentious and still be effective.

Advice to aspiring authors? Know your audience, research, study, talk to other writers, join writing networks, take a business development class, find a top-notch editor, find a passionate cover designer, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to talk about your book, know your support system – not just for buying books, but to bounce ideas off of and a shoulder to cry on when things may not be going your way. Overall, know your purpose and your own voice.

What question or comment am I asked most frequently? The most comments I receive are about scenes within the book…leaving the hospital, at the mall with Henrietta, moving into his mother’s home, etc. The most common question is ‘Are those his eyes on the front cover?’

Do I blog? I don’t officially blog, but I do have a Facebook page and some of my statuses are as long as a blog posting!

What events/book plans for future? There are events planned every month up until October 2012. I will continue my beauty and barbershop tour dates, book club meetings and literary festivals. I will be featured at the Ladies of the Dove Literary Festival in March where Omar Tyree is headlining. I will also be at the National Book Club Conference’s Women’s Empowerment Summit with powerhouses such as Iyanla Vanzant, Pearl Cleage, and Dr. Bertice Berry in July. All of my events and tour dates are posted on www.upsidebook.com.

Where can readers contact you? The best way to contact me is through my book site, www.upsidebook.com. I am also reachable via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. My email address is yolanda@upsidebook.com.

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