Introducing Yodassa Williams to the Deb Class of 2020!

We are thrilled to introduce Yodassa Williams to the 2020 Debutante Ball! Yodassa’s debut novel The Goddess Twins will be published in May 2020. Yodassa is a writer and award winning performing storyteller, who crafts from intense life experiences and a wild imagination. An alumnae of VONA/Voice’s workshop and the Fortify Writer’s Retreat, she completed a residency with Yefe Nof and has performed at Lit Quake, Burning Man, and Moth SF stages.

Here’s a sneak peek of The Goddess Twins, and keep reading for an interview with Yodassa:

After years of traveling the world, black identical twins Aurora and Arden find themselves forced into a wild new reality just when they think they’ve finally settled into normalcy in Ohio. Days before their eighteenth birthday, the snarky twins develop powers in telekinesis and telepathy―at the same time as their famous mother, on tour in London, disappears. Searching for answers and determined to rescue her, the sisters unearth truths that threaten to extinguish their bond and demolish their strength as individuals. Can they trust their beguiling, newly discovered British cousins when they barely trust one another? Should they heed the warnings of their immortal grandmother, a Patoi chatting goddess, who says she’s friendly with The Fates and can see inside a person’s very soul? In order to succeed in their quest, these goddess twins must work together, master their powers, and unveil a horrifying, century-old family mystery. Otherwise, they may not live to see eighteen―or their mother again.

 

Talk about one book that made an impact on you.

I discovered The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, from the recommendation of several friends about six years ago. I was going through a lot of personal transformation and questioning my purpose, and reading this book at that time was like being given a rope after wandering through a dark cave. I have reread this book twice in the past few years, and find the writing so beautiful, it gives me pause. This book also encouraged my performing storytelling voice. I felt so moved by the visualized moments along the journey of internal growth. When I began crafting my own personal parables for my podcast and performances, I used that book as an example to guide my writing and shaping of what I leave my audiences with after a story.

Tell us about your next big project.

I’m so excited to be doing the work of my ancestors. This October, I am launching a wilderness writing expedition (aka writing retreat) at Fly Ranch, Nevada. The 4 day 3 night event, called Writers Emerging, is in partnership with The Burning Man Org. and an amazing team of WOC advisors. We have invited 30 women of color and non-binary persons of color to the land to camp and write and be in community, while thriving in the remote outdoors. This year marks my sixth Burn and I am crafting a memoir of my adventures as a black femme burner, so I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share the liberation and inspiration that I have experienced through my time at Burning Man and the Fly Ranch property. Please read more about this project here.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What kinds of things did you read?

I have always loved intense sci-fi and fantasy stories and grew up with Mercedes Lackey and Frank Herbert in my home library. I devoured Ann M Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club series for years and was also deeply moved by how seen I felt by Maya Angelou’s autobiographies. As a writer, I’m definitely a product of this reading history as I am passionate about strong YA characters in fantasy or futuristic settings, as well as the art of memoir and personal storytelling.

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Stephanie Jimenez

Stephanie Jimenez is a former Fulbright recipient and Prep for Prep alumna. She is based in Queens, New York, and her work has appeared in The Guardian, O! the Oprah Magazine, Entropy, and more. Her debut novel, THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING, will be published in the summer of 2019 (Little A). Follow her @estefsays.