Posted on February 9, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we're interviewing author Yvette Walker.
In addition to her inspirational and devotional writing, Walker is the founder of Positively Joy Ministries at positivelyjoy.com, which includes a weekly podcast of the same name, a Facebook community group, and other social media related to her ministry.
She is a former journalist and now is a college dean of students.
SADYE: How did you come to see yourself as a writer, and what inspired you to seek publication?
YVETTE: I have long been a writer of nonfiction, being a journalist in my first career.
I have transitioned to writing Christian nonfiction (devotionals) and fiction. I love writing. It comes second nature to me.
Writing crime fiction is a new undertaking, and I have loved creating a female main character who shares my viewpoints of promoting truth and recognizing her own flaws (“Sixty” on Kindle Vella). She is African American and is a journalist who is covering crime.
As a Black writer, it’s important to highlight different characters from different demographics. None are perfect and many make mistakes.
As a journalist, I have written columns on race relations and society. I think it’s important to share my love of writing along with my unique perspective as Black and Christian to represent the struggle to find love, joy and live a positive life.
SADYE: What have been the most surprising, rewarding, and challenging parts of your writing career?
YVETTE: The transition from news nonfiction to Christian nonfiction challenged the objectivity that had been drilled into me. As a journalist, I was taught and strived to be completely objective and not have an opinion.
But as I matured, even in news, I discovered that it’s important to come at a story from a point of view. You have to, in order to connect the reader.
However, in Christian writing, clearly, I have an opinion and that is to spread the joy of Jesus Christ in our lives today.
As a Black fiction crime writer, it can be difficult to write about crime with the violence of today.
For example, writing about something like police violence against black males (most notably Tyre Nichols in Memphis) can challenge the soul and affect the craft.
SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?
YVETTE: My overall message is to show how faith works in everyday life, whether I am writing fiction or nonfiction.
My devotional readers can see that more plainly in my work. However, my fiction readers will still see this goal through my characters and their intentions.
SADYE: What advice, as relates to your writing career, would you give your younger self?
YVETTE: Start writing books early!
Don’t wait to write books just because you are already writing published work in the newspaper and online. Don’t box yourself into that role.
Grow and learn that unique perspectives are needed in the industry.
SADYE: What experience in your past or general aspect of your life has most affected your writing?
YVETTE: It’s hard to pick just one experience that most affected my writing, so I’ll give you two:
The first experience goes back to my early years as a reporter. I was called the N-Word (hatefully) twice by two different people on the street in the cities I covered.
Being called that word affects you in ways that are hard to describe. It always sneaks up on you, even after I had been called the word once before.
You never expect it. You think, "it’s the twentieth or twenty-first century, people don’t think like that."
And so when it happens it can tempt you to shrink back into the background. Why risk the hate again by having a byline on a news story or having a book with your name on it?
But you have to push through the hate and write. Be brave and bold! Write your heart out!
The other experience surrounds my faith. I spent a week at a creative Christian retreat that encouraged introspective writing.
I had a real breakthrough there and when I came home, I began to write non-news Christian fiction and nonfiction, as well as songs (lyrics only, I can’t play an instrument!). Not only did I find myself writing more in this new genre, but I also took a step forward and published.
I also began using a new medium, and launched my faith-based podcast, Positively Joy (there’s a funny story behind the fact that the name isn’t grammatically correct).
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Categories: Author Interview