For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, rape and the murder of her father as a small child, Yvonne continues to use her gifts to bring about positive change. Yvonne is a proud wife and loving mother of two sons. Her youngest was diagnosed with Down syndrome (Ds) after birth, which ignited her passion for using her voice to make a difference.
Yvonne’s journey of advocating positive awareness for Down syndrome starting in 2004 when she launched “Have Ya Heard,” an online community that evolved into “HYH Rise Awards” in 2011. The awards were an online event celebrating and honoring those who are making a difference in the Ds community. Her mission is to show the positive side of having a child with special needs. In 2007, she produced and hosted over 100 episodes of her own syndicated talk show “The Yvonne Pierre Show.” In 2010, Yvonne wrote an inspirational memoir “The Day My Soul Cried.” With the launch of Y Pierre Productions, Yvonne wrote, produced and directed a stage play called “Then You Stand,” in 2012. That same year, Yvonne wrote an award-winning short film called, “Never Alone.” In 2014, she executive produced “The 2014 Rise Awards” held in Decatur, GA. In 2015, Yvonne wrote a critically-acclaimed musical dramedy stage play called, “It Takes Two.” In 2016, she wrote a novelette “Zoey” and “The 2016 Rise Awards” online. “Life is so much bigger than the eyes can see and the heart can feel. Yvonne’s passion and purpose are to use the power of storytelling to give hope and provide a different perspective on life.
1.) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
Oh my goodness, I was a very late bloomer. I didn’t know I was called until about 10 years ago. In my mid-20’s I had a strong interest in telling my story, but I didn’t think I was “qualified” to be a writer. Let me briefly explain. Growing up reading and writing was a HUGE challenge for me. I was that kid in class that was embarrassed and struggled to read the paragraph assigned to me to read. When I graduated from high school, I could barely read. I elaborate a little more about it in my first book. But as the saying goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” I had a lot to overcome to even call myself a writer. Fast forward to today, I’ve written two books, a short film, a feature film, a few stage plays, and I just recently earned my Master’s in Creative Writing concentration in Screenwriting.
What I absolutely love most about being a writer is being able to create a story that takes readers on a journey. Storytelling is a powerful tool that many writers use to advocate messages of hope, love, family, and so much more.
2.) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? What projects are you currently working on?
Sure. I currently have two books on Amazon. My first book, “The Day My Soul Cried” is a memoir that primarily focuses on my journey from being broken to unbroken. I briefly talk about being sexually abused (as a child, teen and again as an adult), coping with my father’s murder, not being able to read, self-esteem, and having a special needs children, but ultimately I talk about overcoming it.
My second book, “Zoey” is a fictional story that takes the readers on an emotional journey with a mother who is struggling to accept her disabled daughter until tragedy strikes and she is forced to see things from a different view.
I’m currently working on my third book, “Ripple” (tentative title) that I hope to release towards the end of the year.
3.) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Great question! My most significant achievement as a writer is to push through fears of not feeling like my work is “good enough” for a couple of reasons. The first reason, I’ve battled with feeling like it’s not enough because of the complex that stems from my struggle with reading as I mentioned earlier.
The other reason for not feeling “good enough,” was also my experience with rejection. Years ago, when I attempted writing my first book I shopped it to a publisher. At the time, I had NO idea what I was doing, but I was BOLD. I went to Kroger and looked on the back of a few books and wrote down the publisher. I called and told him how awesome my book idea was and why he needed to publish it. He invited me to his home office. To make a long story short, he told me that I was nobody and no one would be interested in my story. I believed him. It took me at least 5 years to write again.
Eventually, it all became my motivation. I had to realize that I needed to go through that. It pushed me to master my craft and learn the publishing business. If I would have been successful during at time when I barely knew the craft that would have been a disadvantage to me. Although, I didn’t see it that way at the time, he and ALL the rejections I’ve experienced over the years were doing me a favor. Not saying that it doesn’t affect me, but I had to learn to find the silver lining in rejection. Sometimes the rejection is meant to push me to improve something. And sometimes the rejection was protection from a situation that wasn’t meant.
4.) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
Yes, I do put together a schedule and an outline when I’m working on a book. It depends on the length of the story. I used to have to marinate on a story for months before I start writing. The longest part is usually mentally the storyline from beginning to end. Once I can mentally see the story in my mind, I can sit down to begin to write. After I outline the story, it takes me a couple of weeks to finish the first draft.
5.) Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Oh wow. Hmmm, in five years, I hope to be a lot further in my writing career. I hope to have several successful books, films, and possibly stage plays. I hope to have content distributed on TV, Netfix’s, and the big screen.
6.) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Oh no. Not at all. Fortunately, the writing industry doesn’t have an age cap. Nor do I feel getting a late start hinders the writers changes. If anything, the writer’s life experiences provide an advantage that they can draw from to write more texture to their stories. There are many writers who get a late start and become very successful.
7.) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What’s the first book you read that made you know that you could do this for a career? What book are you currently reading?
I’m not currently reading any books. I try not to read within a certain period of time when I’m working on my own projects. I started writing films first. The films that inspired me to write were “The Sixth Sense,” “Ghost,” and “City of Angles.” Someone suggested that I write it as a book first. I was so intimidated to write a book. But the challenge of writing it is what hooked me to write books. Writing films and plays is so different from writing books.
8.) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
No, I’ve never curled up with my own book. The extent of me reading it is to proofread, edit and do revisions. Once it’s published, I rarely go back and read it until I have to, because I’m too critical.
9.) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?
I like both e-book and traditional when I’m reading a book I prefer the hold the actual book in my hand. The dramatic change to the industry has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it opens the door for self-published authors. About 15 years ago, the costs of self-publishing alone prevented a lot of writers from publishing their own works. Now, writers have access writers to printers, distributors, and graphic designers that weren’t so accessible then. The disadvantage is that it increases the number of books being published each year making the market more competitive.
10.) I feel like so many of us writers; us artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
I believe we should be authentically ourselves in life period, but especially in art. Any form of art. Being ourselves is what sets us apart. I believe what sets me apart as a writer is my personal experiences, outlook on life, obsession with the supernatural, and my wiliness to be vulnerable and put pieces of me in the story. I have the “Write to Be” free and unrestricted as I allow the characters to use me as a vessel to tell their stories.
Connect with Yvonne on:
Facebook.com/writerypierre Twitter.com/ypierre Instagram.com/writer_ypierre