Thursday, February 24, 2011

Conversation with Folake Taylor, Author of The Only Way is Up

Adefolake (Folake) Taylor, whose first name means 'spoil me with riches', is an Internal Medicine MD, and the author of a recently published inspirational book that chronicles her life as an immigrant in the US aptly titled The Only Way is Up. Dr Taylor considers herself to be the most optimistic and radiant person you will ever meet. She decided to write this book after observing her husband interact with their daughter and watching a Larry King Live programme that same night on women and self-worth. The MD cum author took time off her busy schedule to talk to ImageNations. ImageNations is grateful to have her here.

Can you tell us about yourself? What should we know about Folake?
I am a wife, a mother, an MD and for the past year and a half, an author. I was born in the UK and evidently to Nigerian parents, for those who could tell by my first name. I have lived in the UK, Nigeria and for more than a decade, in the United States.

What is about medical doctors and writing? Ngozi Achebe, Dolapo Babalola and then you, in addition to those I know from other countries and others I don’t know.
I didn’t know Ngozi Achebe was a medical doctor even though I have heard of her but Dolapo is a colleague right here in Atlanta and I know her family well. Her book came out recently and I loved it. The first edition of my book, The Only Way is Up, came out in November of 2009 so it’s been a while really. I’m not even officially touring anymore. (Smile). I’m not sure what the connection is but I figure we have a lot to say and most medical doctors are pretty profound people to have the discipline to go through the whole medical process and training all the way to the end. That alone says something about one’s personality. It is not for the faint at heart if I might say.

What is your book, The Only Way is Up, about? 
The Only Way is Up is a motivational book that targets women, immigrants and African Americans mostly but not exclusively. It deals with a lot of issues that are especially concerning about the black community in the United States and I express a lot of views about these issues from the eyes of an outsider and compare with life in Nigeria and the UK. I have a lot of information that is beneficial to women in general and also single women because I was single for a long time. I relate these to my experiences. I also have a section on nutrition, exercise and health as an MD of course. It’s a wealth of information packed into one book and I have been told by men that they wish their spouses had read my book a long time ago and the book is really for everybody. I do have a huge section that just deals with life principles which are not gender specific. All I can say is the taste is in the pudding. My amazon.com reviews speak for themselves.


What made you want to write this book?
 I decided to put my thoughts down on paper as I watched my husband interact with our daughter who was one year old then. She is three now. It reminded me of my relationship with my father and how pivotal it was to grow up with a strong male figure in my life. It then saddened me to see how many kids growing up now do not have that, especially in America, and even more so in the black community. That same night, the Larry King Live discussion on women and self worth and how that could be the key to success later in life got me even more fired up. I started to type up my first chapter on my blackberry right in that hotel room in San Juan that night. 

What is the main theme of your book?
Empowerment. Motivation. Reinforcing the family unit. Christian values. 

What is it that you want to achieve with this book?
I want to effect change.

The most important changes I want to see are concerning more solid family structures. I want to see better statistics for single parent homes among African Americans. Presently, about 72% of families are single parent homes with the percentages being so much less in a staggering manner among other ethnicities in America.

I want to see better male/ female dynamics in the world as a whole and I did share some of my personal experiences on the road to “I do” but it is not a memoir. You’ll have to stay tuned for that. (Laughing). I’ll be ready for my memoir when I’m seventy-five. I want to catch our young ladies early before they make some of the mistakes we made in our time.

How was the publishing journey like for you? And what about marketing?
I chose to self publish because I live in America, I did not have a mainstream message and I am a minority. Not usually a winning combo for a previously unknown author. I did my own marketing and believe it or not, the internet in general, Google and facebook were and still are my greatest assets. I held several events such as book signings. I have also been on radio interviews, blogs/ blog tours, networking events, etc. 


Has being published changed you? 
I don’t know that it has changed me but I do know it has taught me that I can do anything I set my heart to as I never planned to be a published author. I also know that if there is something that you wish to do, be it a lifelong dream or not, you need to go ahead and do it. The rest of it will fall into place and follow. The skill will be perfected over time but if you let fear take a hold of you and you succumb to doubt, you will never realize your dream. Presently, I am learning the art of writing fiction, a totally new territory to me. But I am loving it. I have even considered an MFA in creative writing and I recently joined the Atlanta chapter of a writers’ group called American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). It was an honor to sit next to a New York Times Bestselling Author at the first meeting. 


How do you feel when someone purchases your book and asks for an autograph?
I am honored. These things are never to be taken for granted. It is truly a blessing from above each time someone wants to listen to what I have to say and they pay for it too. (Smiling).


Where could readers get copies of the book?
My book is available on amazon.com and several other bookstores, both physical and online. Please follow this link for a comprehensive list: http://www.theonlywayisup.net/buy


Thanks
No. Thank you for having me on, Nana. Much appreciated.

8 comments:

  1. I think that Folake sounds like a very interesting woman and the fact that she was able to not only accomplish getting through medical school and becoming a doctor, but also that she was able to write a book that espouses such valuable information really impresses me. I really want to check out this book and see what she has to say. Thanks for sharing this great interview with us!

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  2. Definitely get the book and let me know your thoughts. Yes, it's good when people document their life... you might not know whom it would help

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  3. I like the focus of her book and one I intend to read at a point in time. Obviously, I see her to be a living inspiration of her book. Nana, you gave a whole new dimension to this interview and I have learned many more here...Great interview. Folake, my greetings.

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  4. @Geosi, thanks. there are more grounds one can cover with authors. Don't you think so? I have just found that such books are more difficult to come by in Ghana though we are just neighbours...

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  5. I love your interviews with African authors!

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