INTERVIEW | Yolanda King Stephen

INTERVIEW | Yolanda King Stephen

Yolanda, describe yourself for our visitors.

I am a proud Georgia native who enjoys traveling and watching classic movies. After graduating from college with a degree in Communication Arts I moved to Baltimore to become a flight attendant. Then the 9-11 tragedies rocked the travel industry and I moved back to the south. In addition to writing and speaking to youth and women’s groups, sharing my story of betrayal and renewed faith, I will be receiving my MBA in March 2012.

How do you find time to connect with God?

Each moment I am awake is an opportunity to connect with God. I have learned to appreciate the little things in life like a full moon or something funny my children may say or do — and they say and do a lot of funny things — but I connect with Him through prayer and quiet meditation or when I exercise.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

My favorite books are ‘The Coldest Winter Ever’, ‘A Piece of Cake’, ‘Flyy Girl’, and anything by Kimberla Lawson Roby.

Tell us about your current book?

The Upside of the Down Low, a Pastor’s Wife’s Memoir is an autobiography following the life of a southern Baptist pastor’s wife, Yolanda Jacksyn. Turmoil and disorder ensue as she quickly finds out her affluent, positioned husband, Pastor Edgar Otis Jacksyn, III (PJ) is plagiarizing life in the pulpit. His parishioners love his candid, real-life preaching style and community leaders applaud his fresh ideas.

But at home PJ squanders money, lies about deadly health issues, and preys on unsuspecting young men. PJ’s trickery and deceitful ways finally walk through his front door and confronts Yolanda – in the form of a teenage boy PJ has been having sex with since the beginning of their marriage.

Not willing to deal with the outcome of his sordid past or succumb to the street or court summons, PJ chooses to end his own life where it began: on the church ground.

The Upside takes a vivid look at speculations surrounding church folk while shedding light on topics long considered taboo in communities across the country; depression, infidelity, homosexuality, and suicide.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

My life inspired the words on the pages of the book. It was literally turned upside down when my late husband’s infidelities and down low happenings came knocking on my door and sat down in my living room. I would have never imagined the events that followed.

After my husband took his own life I didn’t find any books on black suicide written in plain language that could help me cope with the loss of my husband in the manner he died.

My faith in God is what kept me sane through everything so when He gave me the words to write, I wrote, and The Upside of the Down Low, a Pastor’s Wife’s Memoir is the finished product of what He has done in my life.

What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?

As believers, just because we are saved does not mean we are shielded from disruptions and disappointments in life. That it is why it is important to hold to your faith in God no matter how dark the situation, and have that relationship for yourself. With Him you can overcome obstacles and adversities without harboring bitterness so you can move forward to the upside of your life.

What’s next for you?

Next, I will seize every opportunity possible. I will tell my testimony every chance I have the opportunity. I will enjoy time with my children and appreciate the life God has given me. I do plan to write another book and I can’t wait to get started.

Where can visitors find you online?

There are several online mediums where I can be found.

Email me at yolanda@upsidebook.com and YouTube me because I regularly post videos from speaking engagements.