It’s my pleasure to host Yolonda on TBAP today! She recently released a book, Shadow of Death (learn more about it below), the third installment in the Protective Detective Series. Follow our chat below, and learn more about Yolonda!
Me: Hello Yolonda! Happy to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Yolonda: In a nutshell, I’m a wife, mother, daughter/caregiver, and unashamedly a Jesus lover. Oh, I should probably mention that I am a writer, too . . . as well as an entrepreneur . . . and an adjunct professor . . . and a playwright . . . and an all-around girl who has learned to use my gifts and time wisely.
Yolonda, how did you become a Christian? What’s your story?
Yolonda: Though I grew up in church, when I got out on my own, I began rejecting those things I was taught. I still believed in God, but I wasn’t quite sure how He felt about me. Surely before one could become a Christian he/she had to be perfect, right? I’d done so many things wrong I was automatically disqualified, so I thought. I was in a lot of emotional pain. My transformation came when I was hurting so much that nothing I did could numb my feelings. I’d tried nearly all other remedies. I finally decided to try Jesus.
Me: Hmmn. A truly touching story.
What led you into Christian fiction, first as a reader, and then as a writer?
Yolonda: The funny thing is that I didn’t know Christian fiction existed until after I began writing and was nearly finished with my first novel. What led me to writing such is a desire to share a message about Christ in an entertaining and non-threatening way.
Me: Why choose to write Christian fiction instead of secular? What motivated you to go in this direction?
Yolonda: I like my stories to be more than mere entertainment. I want them to have meaning. Christian fiction does this. I am motivated by my desire to deposit something positive in the lives of all those who encounter my work.
Me: What would you say is the difference between the Christian fiction industry/market and the secular? What improvements would you like to see in the Christian?
Yolonda: The biggest difference I see between the Christian fiction industry and the secular market is the way publishers promote the books, in general. The major marketing dollars are put into the “regular” books unless the author is some national figure such as a television evangelist. There’s a misconception that because a book is labeled as “Christian” fiction that it will be boring or the characters will walk on water. While there are some authors who choose to water down the realities of life, I prefer to write about authentic people who, even if they lose their way for a time, will ultimately lean on God to get them through whatever situations they face. The biggest improvement I would like to see in the Christian genre is for publishers to begin pushing such books as hard as they do others.
Me: Yoloda, thank you for mentioning this! I agree with you completely.
What authors (and other people) influenced your writing?
Yolonda: The biggest influence on my writing has been my graduate school advisor, Ruth Peterson. Ruth demanded excellence. I didn’t appreciate her sternness at the time, but it had a profound impact on me. To my knowledge, Ruth didn’t read or write fiction. Neither did I at the time. Still, the lessons I learned from her about my academic work, in general, carried over into my writing. I can honestly say that every time I write, I give it my very best.
Me: Ruth Peterson must have been an amazing person. I’m glad you met her.
What is the principle/motto behind your writing? What would you like to give to the world through your writing? Do you see it happening right now?
Yolonda: “Performance with Purpose” is the principle that I follow when writing. It reminds me that the ultimate purpose of what I do isn’t to get people to ooh and ah over my talents. Rather, I want the messages shared through my works to be the thing that people connect to most.
My characters deal with situations that many face on a day-to-day basis. Through my writing, I want to give the world hope.
Yes, I do see my mission being accomplished now. The most touching messages I’ve received are from those who tell me how much my books have blessed them in their personal lives.
Me: I agree with you completely! This is what’s most important to me as an author, too. Thank you for mentioning that!
How has becoming a published author helped grow you spiritually? Do you sense a deepening in your relationship with God? How?
Yolonda: Being a published author has helped me grow spiritually because it has tested my motives. Christian fiction has lost its popularity over the years. I’ve been presented with opportunities to write other things, but this is where my heart lies. Yes, I do sense my relationship with God has deepened. The fact that I am committed to “performance with purpose,” despite changing trends, shows Him how sincere I am about my relationship with Him and my work.
Me: “…tested my motives.” I find this most inspiring.
How would you compare the dream to becoming published, to the reality of it?
Yolonda: Well, I have yet to get that movie deal, which I dream will happen one day. Every time Hollywood comes out with a remake of something, I say to producers, “Hey, guys! There’s not enough originality. Check out my writings!” The producers aren’t actually around to hear my plea. Thus, I am still trying to figure out how to catch the attention of someone who can turn my dream of seeing my works in film into reality.
Me: Lol! I agree with you. There isn’t enough originality in film these days. I pray your dream comes true!
What are you working on right now? When can we expect it? Perhaps, a snippet, yes?
Yolonda: I’m torn between working on the fourth book in the Protective Detective series or beginning a new project. I don’t yet have a pub date for my next release. I would give you a snippet, but I’m not quite ready to go public with these writings. They still need a lot of work!
Me: I understand. I suggest that if you’re tired of your present series, you can take time off and began a new one since you have no pub date. This renews my interest in a previous work.
With your latest work, what do you hope to pass on to your readers?
Yolonda: My latest work is Shadow of Death. It’s the third book in the Protective Detective mystery series in which Troy Evans finds himself accused of murder. Of course, he didn’t do it. That’s not the mystery to be solved. Someone went to great lengths to set up Troy and he must discover who and why before he losing everything dear to him, including his freedom. Troy got himself into this situation because of his failure to tell the truth about something to his wife. The moral of the story, what I want to pass on to readers, is the old adage that honesty is the best policy.
Me: What advice would you give to anyone who’s looking to become a published author someday?
Yolonda: First, please don’t get discouraged if the doors don’t open immediately. Publishing is an industry that changes like the wind. Your genre could be “in” today and out tomorrow, depending on the trends. Second, enjoy writing to the point where you would do it for free. Hopefully, you won’t have to. 🙂 If you have that kind of commitment to the craft, you’ll be passionate about everything your hands produce. Third, have others proofread your work before submitting it to a publisher. Writers are our own worst editors. We tend to see what should be written instead of what’s actually there. Nothing will ever be completely free from errors, but your manuscript can be as close as possible. Editors can tell by the quality of your work whether you’ve cared enough to clean it before submitting it. If you don’t care, why should they?
Thank you, Yolonda, for stopping by, today!
About the Book
The third in the new detective series that started with Wages of Sin and Day of Atonement, this thrilling page-turner explores what happens when homicide detective Troy Evans is framed for the murder of his ex—and the secrets that got him there.
A devoted husband, father, and detective, Troy will do anything to protect his family…including kill. In a fit of rage, he threatens the life of an ex-girlfriend when she attempts to cause trouble in his marriage. Little does Troy know, his words are caught on tape and will eventually come back to haunt him.
When Troy’s ex mysteriously disappears, he is convinced that she staged her disappearance to get back at him for his rejection, and his assessment seems plausible—until her body is discovered. Soon, Troy becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation. And as secrets of the past begin to surface, they threaten to destroy more than his reputation; his marriage is at risk too, and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
Now on the opposite side of the law, Troy works diligently to find out who has gone to such great lengths to set him up. With a cloud of suspicion hanging over his head, Troy must prove that he’s neither a cheater nor a murderer. If he fails, he could permanently lose his badge, his freedom, and his family.
About Yolonda Sanders
Yolonda Tonette Sanders took a leap of faith by resigning from her job with the State of Ohio to focus more on writing. It was a leap that she has never regretted, as several of her novels have been published, including Soul Matters, Secrets of a Sinner, and In Times of Trouble. All of her books have appeared on Essence’s bestseller list. Currently, Yolonda resides in Columbus, Ohio, and is the loving wife of David, proud mother of Tre and Tia, and joyful caregiver of her mother, Wilene.