Author Leslie C. Youngblood wants readers to know love is infinite. I recently spoke with her about her debut middle grade novel, Love Like Sky.
Tell me about your latest book.
Love Like Sky is my debut middle grade novel. It explores sibling love, the role of big sisters, and the effects of divorce on children, as well as the ups and downs of forming stepfamilies/blended families. Ultimately, it is about the infinite nature of love.
Why did you decide to write it?
I didn’t know exactly where the story was going when I began to write Love Like Sky. The voice came to me. and I went from there. In retrospect, I understand that this was one of the many ways that I’ve grieved one of my brothers who we loss due to gun violence a few years before I published. Love Like Sky doesn’t address gun violence directly, but one of its themes is the infinite nature of love. The book is dedicated to Samuel C. Griffin.
What do you want readers to learn from the story?
What I’d like reader to absorb from Love Like Sky is that the dynamics of relationships may change but love is infinite. Parents may no longer live in the same house or state, or we may experience a change from the physical to the spiritual, but love is infinite.
If you could pick another profession, what would it be and why?
For better or worse, I really don’t have a secondary occupation that would really fulfill me like writing. That’s why I’ve spent so long working on this craft. For sake of argument, I’d select a computer programmer. It would have to be something outside of the Arts. Also, I was an assistant professor for a number of years. But I don’t consider that a profession I would pick other than writing but in addition to writing. Most writers have learned the fine art of doing what we need to do to earn a paycheck in addition to our writing.
What’s the best part of being an author?
Connecting with readers and seeing their faces when they love your work is the best part of being an author. I have to add that making my family and friends proud is up there, too. I’ve had so much support along the way. My acknowledgments page is in my debut it about 50 pages..lol.
What’s the worst part of being an author?
If there is a “worst” part to being an author, it’s trying not to read reviews. My editor sends me trade reviews, and readers tag me in positive reviews, but it is hard not to go down a rabbit hole and respond to the readers who say things that are incorrect or are unfair in a review. You have to learn not to respond.
What’s next for Leslie C. Youngblood?
I started my publishing journey with Disney Books. Then Disney sold my title, along with a thousand other titles, to Little Brown For Young Readers (LBYR). There was no notice. I just opened up an email and it said, “Welcome to Little Brown,” etc. All that to say, I’m buckling up and going on this ride. I’ve been very blessed because LBYR is excellent, and I have fond memories with Disney. My next novel, Forever This Summer, was slated for 2020. That will change to 2021, though the month hasn’t been confirmed. Once I complete Forever This Summer, I’m jumping into several other projects that I’ve had on the back burner. Of course, we are all dealing with Covid19 now. My immediate goals are to stay safe, stay in, keep writing, and count my blessings.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
It took me 15-plus years to land an agent and publish. I want to encourage writers never to give up. Whether you self-publish or go the “traditional” route, it is worth it to see your dreams to fruition. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”
Here are a few of my favorite quotes that keep me inspired. I hope they inspire you as well.
Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
(James) Baldwin: “Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.”
If one advances confidently in the direction of [their] dreams, and endeavors to live the life which [they] have imagined, [they] will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
Use my affiliate link to purchase your copy of Love Like Sky.
To learn more about writer and author Leslie C. Youngblood, visit her website or connect with her on social media.