How would you describe your swagher? What makes Yolanda, Yolanda?
What makes Yolanda, Yolanda, is my Swag is all my own – her own. “To thine own self be true”. Thankfully through humility and remaining steadfast in my faith, I trust that I am authentic in who I am and what is displayed outwardly, in my persona in the public eye, as well as in my personal relationships. What you see is what you get. I’m not trying to be anything that I am not or that I am not comfortable with. It’s already hard enough being who we are; so to try and be anything other than that is what I call, “too much work!”
All I want in this life is to find out who God created me to be and to do it to his Glory, and to the best of my ability. Everything else afterwards will fall into place. Discovering who we are is a task all within itself and it takes a lifetime to figure it out – that is, if we are blessed to find that inquisitive nature that wants to discover the purpose of life; and the reason for being born.
What sparked your interest in writing?
I started writing actually before I could make a legible letter or form a word, so I would scribble. I just knew that there were words inside of me, thoughts and ideas that I needed to get out of me before I imploded. As I matriculated through life, and life sometimes getting the best of me (us); that nagging and sometimes aching to write was the thorn in my side that I needed to spur me into my vocational calling. I’ve tried several different career choices, but I was always led back to my first true love. I thought it might be in journalism after a semester stint for the school paper once, or for a magazine publication such as yours. However, I wanted full autonomy to write what was in my spirit, and at my own discretion; and didn’t find the normal hierarchy of editors critiquing my work alluring. Thus, I decided on being my own boss.
How many titles do you have under your belt and what are they?
To date, I have four titles – “Plus Size Girlz Gone Wild!!!” She (Yes, my books are like people to me), is the fourth book that I have written although she was in my heart first to do. My other books are “Giving It to You Blood Raw, Nothing but the Blood”, “Illegally Blessed – Favor Ain’t Fair”, and “TBN Mega Churches”. All of my books have the centric aesthetic of God as the root and anchor of our lives. And all titles can be found, previewed and purchased at all major distributors – www.BarnesandNoble.com , www.Amazon.com and www.Books-a-Million.com.
Tell us a little about “Plus Size Girlz Gone Wild!!!”?
Plus Size Girlz Gone Wild!!! What can I say other than it’s an ode to the plus size woman, but is a body of work for all women to look to as a source of womanhood. There is a whole lot more to being a whole woman and being replete in all that entails, than just clothes. Clothes don’t make the woman – the woman makes the clothes. We’ve all seen stars captured by paparazzi though they haven’t had a team do their makeup, or a stylist do their wardrobe, but they were simply running a quick errand and got caught out-and-about and they were women and representing as such.
Being plus size is just a physical characterization, not the sum total of who that woman is as a person, a mother, a wife or professional. There are a myriad of ways that a woman is sculpted into who she is, and I know that this book can both aid and assist with women who want to be all that they can be and get all what God has for them.
Do you have a writing ritual and if so what is it?
If I am to be transparently honest, then I would not call my writing a ritual – it’s more of a lifestyle, a habitual recurrence that is regenerated or birthed when I see a need. My writing is out of a need to want to be what God called us to do – be loving and kind towards one another. Each and every word that I write/type is out of love for mankind, my neighbor, my family and friends; and as I do; I encourage myself – It’s a reciprocal commandment that has many beneficial qualities and attributes that transcend cultures, race, or creeds.
What do you want readers to take from your books?
Readers should take away from the book first and foremost that I have their best interest at heart. That I not only address what I see as social carcinogenic stereotypes in the plus size community, but also the inward negativity that first must be addressed amongst the plus size sorority, that which allowed for the self-inflicted hazing to ruin the self-esteem of what women need to feel like a woman in the first place. If we don’t love ourselves first, then we are not capable and fit to love on anything or anyone else. We must first know love in order to love.
What is an obstacle you overcame in your career and how did you do so?
My greatest obstacle was not understanding the logistics of how to put a book together from cradle to the grave. It’s one thing to write, whilst it’s another thing to sit down and go about doing it; especially when you have never taken on such a task – for everyone to critique, be it good or bad. Writing leaves a person exposed and raw and when someone says something against your work; it’s like rubbing salt into an open wound – painful to say the least. And once it’s out there, circulating through the public, we just have to take it… With a smile.
I think that I am still in the process of coming or on my way, but not that I have overcome all of them. Life is about one obstacle after another. You catch your breath and we kick it out to the next hurdle. Keep going, keep trying, keep believing, keep hoping, keep trusting and keep our faith in God, and every obstacle will turn out to be a catalyst for a higher level.
What advice would you give other aspiring authors?
The best advice that I can give to other aspiring authors would be to remain true to the reason that led you to write first and foremost. Passion is what gives the words life from one flip of the page to the next, and if you are not writing from a place of passion, then what’s the purpose? Writing Dear Diary down in your journal versus allowing others into your “think tank” is an entirely different beast.
Writers write because we want to provoke and make others think; not necessarily be cogs in the machine, or think as we do, but to simply weigh all opinions on a subject matter and hopefully leave enlightened by our input.
Another word of advice would be to love the craft. Although writing may be our passion or vocation, it is also a craft and anything that we put out for public consumption, you want it to be good for the reader. To read a good book is like being a foodie for the mind. There’s plenty junk food on every bookshelf, but when your readers sits down to have a good meal with your book, you want them to leave full and with satiety. Our world is already obese from social media and the like thereof, therefore, take your craft seriously and put out quality cuisine.
Do you have any upcoming events or projects that you would care to share with our following?
Right now my grind is currently working on getting a good ground-swell about this book, and then I will see where it takes me. I have been interviewed by a few talk radio stations around the country in the past regarding my books; and I have been approached about speaking engagements and by book clubs, but my focus is more so on the mainstream audience and thus my feature in your publication. Hopefully, this feature will open the doors to ears that are itchy to hear from someone like me who truly does have hope for a better world, and a better life through what I might have to say.
Please list your website and social networks below
Facebook – Yolanda Smothers
Twitter – Yolanda Smothers @ysmothers
Instagram – YolandaSmothers