Yvonne deSousa has worked as a street sweeper, a shell seller, a babysitter, a candy peddler, and a guest house manager, all before the age of sixteen. Later on she worked as a waitress, sales clerk, library assistant, victim’s advocate, and at the front desk of a doctor’s
Two years before Yvonne’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, a relative volunteered her to write an article for a local newspaper. Little did she know it was the beginning of a writing career. When MS threatened to turn her into a lunatic, she started writing more frequently and quickly discovered that writing about the insanity that is MS was helping to keep her sane.
Her work has appeared on Cape Women Online, and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Finding My Faith and Something On Our Minds, Volumes 1 and 2. Yvonne also writes a weekly blog, the website that uses a giggle stick to beat up on MS. Since finishing MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis, she has started presenting programs designed to help others use humor to help cope with
Yvonne enjoys writing, laughing, and resting. She lives by her personal motto, “my MS is not your MS and your MS is weird!”
What inspires you to write?
My main writing is inspired by my life with a chronic illness. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I realized that life was going to get so crazy that I would quickly go crazy if I didn’t learn to laugh at it! Suddenly I started writing about what I found so bizarre in this MS journey and when I did, I realized I felt better. It was like I was making fun of/beating up on the MS bully. And that felt like a fun, healing defense mechanism.
Tell us about your writing process.
Living with MS makes it hard to stick to a strict writing schedule. But when an idea strikes or something weird happens I try to jot it down as soon as possible. Oddly, I do my best thinking in the shower. A little TMI I know, but it’s true. I often look at my notes and then jump into the shower. By the time I get out, I have a ton of ideas. My most productive time of the day is between 1-4 or 3-7. And yes, my schedule and MS related fatigue does make it so I’m just getting out of the shower at those times. Most people have finished lunch when I am just starting breakfast.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ironically I’m not a big fan of medically books which is great because I tried really hard not to write one. I like to think of MS Madness! as a humor book and I do love humorists. I just discovered Dave Barry and can’t wait to get into more of his work. But when I want to be entertained with fiction I tend to go towards suspense writing. Lisa Unger is a new favorite and when I get my hands on Gillian Flynn’s latest it’s likely I won’t sleep until I have devoured it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had the opportunity to meet with a wonderful agent who was very interested in MS Madness! but had suggestions of things I should do to build up my author platform before publishing. I did them but when I contacted her she wasn’t available. She recommended me to a friend of hers who requested the first two chapters. It took that agent six months to reject me. At the same time I had attended a self publishing seminar and was really impressed with one of the smaller publishers I met there. I felt ready and the rejection by one agent and the meeting of a small publisher that I connected with seemed to come together to help me decide to self publish with the small publisher, SDP Publishing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I know that there will always be readers and so I’m not too concerned with the book vs. ebook worries that fellow authors talk about. So many readers I’ve met like to have both; some books in a physical copy and some books on their ereader. I do worry about book quality since self publishing has become so prevalent. When I have a chance to talk to new writers who are thinking about publishing I try to stress the importance of a professional editor and a quality product. It makes a huge difference and I believe authors owe it to readers to produce a quality project. I cringe when I read self published books that are filled with errors. Really, really hoping MS Madness! doesn’t contain any. No readers have pointed any out to me and I was fortunate to have a rock star editor!
What genres do you write?
humor, memoir, Christian
What formats are your books in?