5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… William J. and Yolanda Powell, authors of Soul Food & Living Water

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Williams J. Powell and Yolanda Powell, author of Soul Food & Living Water
(Moody Publishing – Lift Every Voice)

Soul Food & Living Water is a potent scriptural oasis in the midst of the family desert and the daily drought. It’s creatively designed to strengthen Black parents and children where we are weak and lacking and provide us with what we need in both spiritual and practical ways.

Each chapter is a quick and easy read! The reading audience will identify with our real-life examples, laugh out-loud at our transparent stories and be built-up by practical aids…all flowing – from chapter to chapter – into your life like refreshing streams.

Overall, Soul Food & Living Water will help the Black family discover joyful paths back into the Presence of a Loving God – Who sees, cares and knows EXACTLY where we live! It’s a true manual for marriage and family – in the trenches where we live and work every day.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Soul Food & Living Water?

Williams J. Powell and Yolanda Powell: Our family lived the “ideas” of Soul Food & Living Water in the raw and discovered that what we had emerged from…job loss, poverty, spiritual bankruptcy, marital blues, sibling rivalry, extended family drama and the like – were things others could glean from. So it’s a living book with to-life solutions.

Before this staple was available, I searched the book stores incessantly looking for help, aid and insights and found none! So, I was deeply inspired to get some healing direction and to pass it on to a hurting community at large.

JP: What sets Soul Food & Living Water apart from other books in its genre?

W&YP: Soul Food & Living Water is an inspirational, how-to manual for the African-American family in Christ, and there is nothing else on the Christian (or non-Christian) market that delivers both spiritual nourishment and practical help like it does.

Many times we so easily get spirituality without the practicality or vice-versa. However, such is not the case here. This book promises balance and bounty, and it delivers. Too, Soul Food & Living Water is a rare commodity for bankrupt and depleted families that need to be brought back into purpose, focus and unity. It’s also chock-full of African-American mores and historical landmarks that chart a clear and concise course of direction.

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Soul Food & Living Water getting out to the public?

W&YP: The initial key that open the door to public success and opportunity was garnering “seasoned advice” from the experts. In 2001, I was blessed to meet Al Janssen, then the Vice President of Products at Focus on the Family at the Mid-Atlantic Christian Writers Conference in Pennsylvania.

The director, Marlene Bagnull is a spiritually astute and seasoned professional. She had one slot open for a 15 minute interview with Janssen and felt strongly that I was to have it. It was a God-appointment! A year earlier, I was told by a writing agent to work on a book proposal for my concept, instead of the book itself. It was the best advice I have ever received in the publishing industry.

So, I was ready with manuscript in hand when the time came to pitch my book idea. Janssen took it back to committee that fall. Soul Food & Living Water: Spiritual Nourishment & Practical Help for the African-American Family would be published a year or so later in tandem with Moody Publishers.

It was the first African-American book product Focus had done. Now, nearly seven years later, it is being repackaged by Moody exclusively, because the market for it is great. So, we are having a second opportunity to undergird and nurture the Christian family. It has been an exciting journey indeed!

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Soul Food & Living Water?

W&YP: As an author, my writing process begins with “idea generation and concept development.” I like to take the value of what I’m sensing and desiring artistically through a literary sieve (like lumpy flour) before I begin the actual movement of forming creative matter.

This helps me stay committed to the various avenues and byways I will have to travel to my destination. The book proposal for Soul Food & Living Water took be about 6-9 months to draft and finalize. The actual book followed and was completed in 12 months with the tons of editorial changes and content polishing by publishing associates.

JP: What’s next for William J. Powell and Yolanda Powell?

W&YP: A devotional book is in the hopper! It seems to be the ‘next step’ to bring believer’s further into the Chamber of God for ‘deeper intimacy and exchange. Over the years, I’ve become familiar with many of the well-worn pathways into Papa’s Presence and desire to share those ‘treasures’ with other interested pilgrims.


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3 thoughts on “5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… William J. and Yolanda Powell, authors of Soul Food & Living Water”

  1. This is something as African Americans we need so many times you go to bookstore just for a self help book to help you, your family, your relationship and all you see is books to help the other people but nothing to help you as an African American, because a lot of what others go through is nothing like what we as a people go through, yes we can all get spiritual guidance from our churches but sometimes you just want to handle some things for yourself and when you read a book that shows you that we all have issues whether large or small it helps coming from someone that does not know you because friends will sugar-coat what they think you want to hear.

  2. Congratulations to the authors. This sounds like a helpful and much-needed book. We need more people who are willing to share their stories in an effort to strengthen and encourage our families.

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