My guest today is Yecheilyah Ysrayl and is an author, Spoken Word Artist and blogger. She was born on the south side of Chicago and began writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve. She studied at various eductional institutions after leaving Harper High School, including studying Professional and Technical Writing at Chicago State University and Medical Assistance/Phlebotomy at Everest College.
Yecheilyah began performing poetry in High School where she joined UMOJA Spoken Word. Since then, she has went on to perform in various cities throughout the U.S
She is the author of Young Adult, Black American Literature and Poetry. The author of eight books (most notably, The Stella Trilogy), Yecheilyah is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story”. Renaissance: The Nora White Story Book One is due for release July 15, 2017. Revelation: The Nora White Story Book Two is due for release December of this year. Yecheilyah is also a Blogger and Book Reviewer.
Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.
Yecheilyah will be giving a book reading from the third in the Stella series – The Road to Freedom: Joseph’s Story and we will learn more about that book later in the post. First however, a look at Yecheilyah’s other work.
Other books by Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/
Now it is time to meet Yecheilyah in person and find out more about her work and her future projects. Please leave you questions in the comments section of the post.
Welcome Yecheilyah.. Do you have a favourite quote? What does it mean to you as an individual?
Yes. My favorite quote is from George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. To me, it means that everything starts with the mind. If I think I’m a failure, then fail is what I will do and there is nothing outside that can change that because the enemy is within myself. Likewise, if I think I am capable then I will win and there is nothing outside that can change that. Change begins in my mind and it is my belief that ultimately dictates my actions.
What is your definition of success?
Success is when you can lay down at night knowing that you’ve accomplished everything you set out to accomplish that day. I don’t care if it’s cleaning out the basement or finishing a blog post. When you do what you set out to do, then you’re a success in my book. It’s difficult to even get up in the morning sometimes. So, when we can find the will and motivation to do so and not only to get up but to perform? That’s success.
What are your plans for 2017 for your books and blog?
For my blog, I’d like to incorporate more author promotions, more poetry and start to introduce more of my fiction writing. I am thinking more short stories.
For my books, 2017 is shaping up to be a busy year. I have two books coming out. I’ve also been working on two additional projects I haven’t been very vocal about. I am working on my memoir and sharing excerpts to my email list. I am also working on a series of inspirational books. We don’t always understand the psychology behind writing and often we ignore things like depression and stress. I want to remind authors to take some time out every now and again and just breathe. BREATHE: Letters of Writespiration to Keep You Inspired, Motivated, and Writing is my first work in progress for this project.
Can you tell us more about the Literary Korner Publishing Writer’s Workshop and your aims for the programme?
Sure. L.K. Pub. Writer’s Workshop is an online workshop I founded to first provide a place Indie Authors can come for those resources that are often so difficult to find after finishing a book, all in one place. What I am most passionate and excited about is the communal opportunity. My primary aim for the program is to build an online community of writers who support each other, learn from each other and grow with each other.
A band of Book Ambassadors who could help to get the word out about the book. A group of people who has each other’s backs, promote each other, read each other’s books, build each other up and offer valuable feedback. Writing is a lonely business. Literary Korner Publishing Writer’s Workshop aims to strengthen the relationship between Indie Authors and their networks. Let each one, teach one. Together, we are one. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I go forth as one, but I stand as ten thousand.”
You have a new book coming out this summer Renaissance: The Nora White Story. What was the inspiration for the book?
There were two inspirations for this book:
Not all blacks who migrated to the North, whether to escape Jim Crow or acquire better financial opportunities, did well. This staunch image of Northern abolitionism is not entirely accurate. Slavery is so much the outstanding feature of the South that people often forget there had been slaves all over the U.S. Thus, many Blacks viewed the North as the land of milk and honey so they sold their land, packed up their children and headed home.
Renaissance tells the story of a young woman who, like many of her time, despises the South and is not interested in her family’s land and despite graduating High School is not interested in College either. Nora decides she wants to go to New York to be a writer and against her parents’ wishes, she does. She becomes part of The Harlem Renaissance Movement and learns the North is not all it’s cracked up to be. Nora must decide for herself about who she is and what she wants.
My second inspiration is concerning the psychology of those who were enslaved. Often, we do not explore the mental impact of the institution of bondage. While Nora sneaks off, her parents are unaware of their daughter’s whereabouts and battle their own demons. Their fear that Nora is dead is rooted in the tragic past of not just their family history but also the history of the Jim Crow South. Past devils emerge in new forms and the family must find the courage to overcome.
As a book reviewer what you consider to be the top three elements that turn a 3.5 star read into a 5-star review?
(1) Realistic Characters – characters who act like people would.
(2) Pacing – a book that is not necessarily zooming past us, but flows well. Definitely not too slow.
(3) Ending – If it’s a novel that’s not part of a series, a book that ties up all the loose ends before coming to an end. A book where those things presented throughout the book are not just there but there for a reason and then we get to understand why at the end. I love those kinds of endings. No strings hanging, except for the series of course.
Sit back and enjoy Yecheilyah’s book reading.
About the book
Deeply concerned about the state of Black America, a fight with his brother compels a young Joseph to leave his mother’s house and join his friends for a trip to Atlanta for SNCC’s (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) second conference. Excited to live life on their own, Jo and his friends have left school and the lives they were living for a chance to become part of the movement. With no money and essentially no plan the seven friends, three black and four white, set out for the road when they are stopped by a racist cop who makes them exit the car. The teens are unaware that a mob of Klansmen also await them at the New Orleans bus terminal.
* * *
“Reporter: “Why do you think you should keep up this ride?”
I looked up and there was a microphone in my face, “What?”
Reporter: “Are you trained to take this kind of abuse?”
“Trained?” I was completely confused; the reporter moved on.
Reporter: “What about you ma’am? Why do you think you should keep up this ride?”
Fae walked away, pushing the camera out of her face. He proceeded to attempt to get commentary out of us until retiring behind his camera. That is when it occurred to me what was going on.
Reporter: “A group of college students, three colored and four whites, are bombed out of their vehicle while attempting to challenge Alabama’s desegregation laws. The original whereabouts of the students are unknown and sources have not yet confirmed if The Freedom Riders are yet affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality or CORE.”
We just wanted to make it safely to Atlanta in time for SNCC’s second conference. We wanted to be involved in the struggle. We knew nothing except a desire to bestow freedom to all of mankind. We wanted to make our mark in the world. We were so busy trying to be part of the movement that we did not realize that we were already part of the movement.
An inconspicuous glint of light shining off in the corner of a room, our very births, our coming forth in this time, presented us with an automatic drafting into the struggle. All this time we were seeking to fight a war we were born into.
Just a trip to the bathroom and we were Freedom Riders. At least they thought we were.”
One of the reviews for the book
The third in a series, The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story is able to stand alone. However, in order to get the full experience of the story arc, it would be a good idea to start from the beginning. I did not, so my review is based on this book alone.
I was really enlightened by this book. In my head, slavery and discrimination are ancient history. I didn’t grow up with separate fountains or even being exposed to much in the way of racism. Don’t get me wrong: I was part of a multi-ethnic school in a large American city. I wasn’t locked up in a basement somewhere. But I went to a school that taught us to celebrate our differences and marvel at the strengths each of us had while helping each other overcome our weaknesses. Looking back, it was a mini-utopia really and affected how I experience life. Obviously, racism is still a thing and a bigger thing now than I imagined it would be. I remember thinking that racism would be dead by the time I was the age I am now. I digress…
The Road to Freedom showed me a part of history that I had learned about but never really connected with. As I read, I was made very uncomfortable by the derogatory language and harsh treatment the characters received. The kind folks these teens met on their journey were huge bright spots of warmth and sunlight that I desperately needed as a reader.
It was very well written. Historical without being boring. Accurate but not preachy. Brutal without overdramatizing. It would be appropriate for teen and adult readers alike. In particular, I would recommend it for literature classes or history classes. It’s only 65 pages long and it provides ample discussion topics with authentic learning opportunities. Adults who want to read it for personal growth should absolutely do so. I finished this book days ago, and I’m still thinking about it.
The author finishes up the book by writing letters to different kinds of readers. It’s a beautiful gesture. Even though I only “fit in” to one of those groups, I read both letters. I think it’s important for everyone.
Read all the reviews and buy The Road to Freedom: Joseph’s Story https://www.amazon.com/Road-Freedom-Josephs-Stella-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B01BNYQ7JY
Connect to Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Pearls Before Swine blog. www.thepbsblog.com
Author Website: https://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing
My thanks to Yecheilyah for her visit today and she is eager to answer any questions that you might have. Please leave in the comments section. Thank you Sally.