You were a guest on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ before, where we learned about writing in your life and your projects.
Let’s see what you can tell us today:
1. Are you still writing in the same genre as you did before, and if not, why did you switch – or would you ever think to change genres?
This question is so interesting because I’ve been thinking a lot about genre. I find as an Indie Publisher one of the challenges is having to sort of “categorize” yourself. While I’m still writing Historical Fiction, I am starting to understand I am more so into Literary Fiction specifically. I say that because I am only interested in a certain kind of Historical Fiction. I love history across the board even though I didn’t like it in school, but when it comes to reading history in a fictional form, my real interest is in the so-called Black experience mostly. For this, I think I’ll start to use Literary Fiction more if I had to “categorize” my work. I don’t like being boxed in though so I’ll definitely change genres depending on what story I write.
2. Please, tell us a little about your writing process.
I don’t have much of a process. Every book I write is different and takes me on a different journey. The best answer I can give is that as I am writing the first draft and the story is flowing, sometimes I come upon a scene that requires me to stop and research. Now I know what they say when writing the first draft just write. Well, I can’t. At least not when I need information to finish a scene. Usually, I do my research separate from writing but when it comes to the creation of a scene that requires me to know more to write about it, I have to stop. Even if it’s just the first draft because I know how that scene looks in my head and what is required for it to be put down on the page. And I can always go back and perfect it later (during revisions) but before I can move on, I’ve got to be able to at least finish that scene.
For example: In Revelation, Book Two of The Nora White Story, there are new characters being introduced and one such character is named Red, Nora’s love interest. I was reading Malcolm X autobiography as I was writing book two so that’s where the inspiration for his name and some of his characteristics comes from. Long story short, Red is a numbers runner. A numbers runner is someone who collects policy slips and pays winners in a form of lottery called policy banking or as it was referred to by blacks in Harlem, the numbers game.
As newcomers to Harlem, Southern blacks like many northern-born African Americans, encountered racial and job discrimination and were unable to secure industrial jobs. Most labored in unskilled jobs and received less pay than their white counterparts. Under these socioeconomic conditions, African Americans developed diverse and creative responses to employment discrimination and economic disparity like rent parties and policy banking, a form of gambling that you would recognize today as the lottery. Playing the lottery is legal today, although illegal when poor black people were doing it.
3. What is important to know for young, new authors and writers?
Young and new authors and writers should pay attention to themselves. What I mean is, understand the power of your individuality, what sets you apart and how to infuse this self-identity into your writing. Inspiration is cool, motivation is exciting and publishing books is OK but without a knowledge of self, discipline, and endurance you won’t get very far. People will always tell you how it should be done and it is wise to listen to advice for sure. It is also wise to stay true to yourself, your personal mission as well as your contribution to the world. Only being who you are makes you different and set apart to everyone else and that’s what really makes your work what it is. If you really think about it, every book is essentially the same. It is the author/writer that makes it different.
4. Your experience in the writing world, do you think it has already taken you where you wanted to go?
No. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to where I want to go but I do know that I’ll be guided to where I need to be if that makes sense. I don’t like the idea of having “made it” or having obtained success because it means you must stop at some point and I do not intend to stop if it is Yah’s will. For me, life is about stepping stones and milestones. At some point, I’ll reach a milestone or accomplish a certain goal that I have wanted to achieve but I do not intend on stopping if it is in my power.
5. In your opinion, are you a writer or an author – and what is the difference for you?
I am both because in my opinion there is no difference. While an author would technically be published, I believe the journey is all encompassing. If I believe I’m a published author then I am even before I publish a book. Being a writer is just that, you write. Whether it means you publish books, write blog posts or research papers, you’re a writer. Being a writer can encompass many things and does not have to be restricted to writers of books. Maybe you publish articles. That makes you an author and a writer just the same.
6. Please, tell us about your projects again. Was there progress since the last interview or are there even completely new projects?
Yes, ma’am. I am working on quite a few projects, not all of which I will list here because we’ll be here all day.
Briefly, I am releasing a novel very soon which I am most excited about. Renaissance Book One in The Nora White Story. We follow Nora White as she attempts to follow her dreams of being a writer during The Harlem Renaissance Movement and the realities she is facing as she struggles to understand more about the difference between the Jim Crow South and the not-so-different North. We also follow her parents, Gideon and Molly White in their struggle to overcome their own pain in their search for their daughter who has left home without a word.
As I am preparing to release this book I am also revising Revelation which is Book Two in the series with hopes of getting it out by the close of the year.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Thanks so much for having me. It is an honor.
Connect with Yecheilyah:
Author Website: https://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/
Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)
When seventeen-year-old Nora White successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.
The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.
Shocked by their daughter’s disappearance, Gideon and Molly White are plagued with visions of the deadly south, like the brutal lynching of Gideon’s sister years ago. As the couple embark on a frightening and gut wrenching search for Nora, they are each stalked by their own traumatic past. Meanwhile, Nora learns that the North is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Can Gideon and Molly overcome their disturbing past in time to find their daughter before it’s too late?
Coming July 15, 2017
“The author really did her research, touching on the feud between Zora and Langston over a play written by both, but only Zora was given credit. The way she wove Nora into the middle of the feud was genius. It was reminiscent of Forrest Gump a bit.(That, in my world is a HUGE compliment – I love Forrest Gump)”
– Lisa W. Tetting
“When I finished reading Renaissance: The Nora White Story I actually shouted. I loved, loved this book. From beginning to end. The characters are still alive inside my mind. The setting as well. I could smell the hot soup the girls had or the rain on the hot earth. The dialogue is superb; I can still hear the soft southern accent in my mind.”
– Adele Marie Park
“The author did a fabulous job of inserting the fictional Nora White into the historical time period. The story flips between Nora’s family back home and her experiences in New York. It was a great storytelling technique because the reader was able to grasp the stark differences in life between the two geographical locations while realizing the specter of racism existed everywhere. I also liked the fact that the characters spoke with the typical speech patterns of the time. From a historical perspective, it was like experiencing time travel to another era.”
– Colleen Chesebro
“First of all, let me say that I’m loving your book so far. The voice (yours/Nora’s), imagery, dialogue, and overall literary style remind me of Toni Morrison’s and Zora Neale Hurston’s. Damn, girl! You’re giving me goals!”
– Nadine Tomilson
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