What a delight it was to meet author Y. Deonna who is truly charming, caring, creative and a prolific writer. A native of South Carolina, at an early age she discovered her love of reading and writing. As a youngster, she was fascinated by how authors created exciting and uplifting stories and knew she would one day do the same.
Y. Deonna completed her undergraduate education at Carson-Newman University and her graduate education at the University of Pittsburgh #H2P. It is her desire to fuse together her education, faith, and advocacy to create empowering stories that engage, educate, and elevate readers. Writing novels are part of her ministry and advocacy.
Additionally, she is a victim advocate, social worker, and works with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Meet Y. Deonna.
You are an author, but is it your day job? If not, what does fill your days? I’m a behavioral health social worker and victim advocate.
Did you always want to be an author? No. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a doctor and then an attorney. However, I always loved writing. I just never thought of it as more than a hobby.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My most recent book is called Symphony of Goode Love and it’s part of a four-book series that will follow four brothers as they navigate love. I decided to write the book because I wanted to challenge myself as well as craft an inspirational love story that showcased Black love. When I write, it is to elevate, educate and engage the reader. In this book, the characters deal with colorism, faith, grief/loss, and trauma.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? I pray the book inspires readers to love, forgive and heal. Also, to embrace their unique beauty and not allow the opinions of others to dictate how they view or love themselves. Too often we allow insignificant people to have significance in our lives and that becomes debilitating. I want to remind everyone that what makes them different is what makes them beautiful. Everyone has the right to be loved and to be loved well.
What are you most excited about with this book? I’m excited about how it will connect with readers, and the conversations of healing and love I think it will bring.
How did writing a book help your career take off? I am not a NY bestseller yet, nor am I a household name. I still have work to do. Locally, I have been invited to speak at schools and churches and I love how my story is influencing and inspiring others.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? I think one must love to write. Do your research, understand what you are getting into, and make sure it’s truly what you want. Writing professionals must be prepared for constructive feedback and mean reviews. It’s part of the business. You must learn to identify what’s necessary and what’s noise. If it’s truly what you want, then never give up no matter what anyone says. Do not attempt to imitate others, you’re an original, so write your way and never apologize.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? The therapist in me understands that comes with the job. I process it and I move on. I take feedback that can make me better and use it. I must be honest, my first one star on my debut novel had me in tears. I was like, this is not productive. That is one negative review versus a lot of positive ones. It happens to everyone. At the end of the day, every book will not resonate with every reader, and that’s okay. As long as I know that I wrote the best book I could, then I don’t waste my time pouting about the opinions of others.
Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers? That’s the hard part. I think writing the book is easy compared to the rest. It’s all about time management, building up a team, and hiring the right people to assist you. I’m still learning. My advice is to link up with someone who knows more than you.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? I’m thinking about getting an accountability partner to make sure I meet my writing goals. I just do what I can when I can. This pandemic where most of my author friends have written multiple books, I’ve been on the frontline with my patients. Once it all calms down, I will go back to my writing calendar and stay focused on completing my task.
How do you structure your day and make time for writing? If I’m off, then my weekends are for writing. I often wake up at random times during the night and early morning to write something down. I gather my snacks and a drink, and I sit down and just let the words flow.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? I love hearing from readers who have been touched by a book.
What book uplifts you? The Bible.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? Thanks for reading! Authors need readers, and I appreciate all readers.
Meet Y. Deonna at her website.
Images Courtesy of Y. Deonna