Unwrapped: The Only Way is Up by Folake Taylor MD

 Intimate Conversation with Dr. Folake Taylor

Folake Taylor, MD was born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian-born parents in the early 70s and was raised in both countries before settling in the United States to live the American dream. She is a 2006 graduate of the Internal Medicine Residency Program of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA. Taylor obtained her initial medical degree from Nigeria. Taylor is a member of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

She has always loved to write but never dreamt of actually writing a book. She would write sixteen page letters to her friends in boarding schools as a teenager which was always eagerly anticipated by the recipient and shared with those around! Perhaps being the daughter of a writer had something to do with it. Prior to her debut as an author, she had medical publications and conference presentations to her credit.

Folake loves to have fun, especially with her favorite people, her husband and little girl. She loves to travel, loves water sports (though a non-swimmer) and she loves to read and watch great movies. Guess what else she loves? Go carts and Six Flags!  She believes in making the world a better place, one person at a time, one good deed at a time. And she has faith that it is possible if only we try. She communicates this message as she debuts on the literary scene with "The Only Way is Up: The Journey of an Immigrant." This is a book about empowerment and hope, especially but not exclusively for women.

She hopes to embark on more writing projects in the future. Her website is http://www.theonlywayisup.net/  and she can be reached at ft@theonlywayisup.net.

The Only Way is Up: The Journey of an Immigrant
Genre: Non-fiction; Culture; Immigrant Overview
EDC Rating:  4.0 / 5 stars

This book features the author's experiences and views on pertinent life issues as an immigrant to the United States. The objective is to empower women though the greater part is of relevance to a general audience. The book provides insight and solutions for a variety of common issues in our society including issues with identity, weight, health, nutrition, finding a mate, relationships in general and gender roles. It also gives insight into borrowing from other cultures. 
Buy the book at Amazon today.

BPM:  Folake, what makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
I would say my global exposure and my background as a medical doctor makes me powerful as a person with my message. As a writer, I would say the fact that I have written all my life and always gotten positive responses. I have always been able to capture people’s attention with my writing but I just never planned to do it on this scale. Also, my mother is a writer. She’s written 3 books, one of which was published by Africa World Press and was read in American Universities (Womanism and African Consciousness). It is still listed on amazon.com today. I must have inherited those genes!

BPM: Who are your mentors?
My parents most importantly, especially my mother who taught me to be a strong black woman but still keep a marriage and family together. They are still waxing strong. If anyone had told me twenty years ago I would someday name my mother as my mentor, I probably would have said, “Shoot me”! But we live and learn. I also admire Michelle Obama for what she represents for women in general but most especially the black woman, how she supports her man, how she stands by him and uplifts him.

BPM: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: Empowerment and family values.

BPM:  Introduce us to your book, The Only Way is Up.  How does society, history or current affairs influence the story?

The Only Way is Up is a book mainly about the restoration of family values. The book also gives a proper perspective on what our priorities should be in life. It manages to do this without being boring or judgmental. Though non-fiction, it is a fun and easy read that touches on both triumphs and personal failures as well as everyday events that we can relate to. It even has elements of humor scattered throughout; a reflection of my spirit, regardless of the surrounding circumstances. It of course also has information about other cultures, tolerance, continual self-reflection and introspection. It chronicles how I learnt from my mistakes–it does not tell you about a perfect life at all!

Being well aware of the fact that people do not necessarily want to read a memoir about a previously unknown author except you just discovered the cure for AIDS or something like that, I did not set out to write a biography or memoir. It was however necessary to introduce me, who I am and what I do so the book does start off with that. I also often draw on my life experiences and upbringing in different parts of the book so as to draw a parallel and paint a picture of what could be if certain decisions and choices were made differently. In other parts of the book, I am purely expressing an opinion and linking to events around us that we can all relate to. I in no way just throw lists of things to do or not to do at you. It has been described to me as reading like a laid back conversation between friends about life. As a person who would not typically buy how-to or self help books, that exactly was my aim.

BPM:  What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I believe God gave me the inspiration, however. It came primarily from watching my husband and daughter interact which took me back in time to my relationship with my father and his role in my success as the man in my life from the beginning. Not to underestimate the value of a mother in one’s life which is not quantifiable but I believe a lack of understanding of the role of fathers in their children’s lives (both male and female alike) is responsible for many of the downward trends in our society now. Kids grow up without the balance from both parents and for the most part, both sexes.

Also, having a responsible male role model while growing up painted a picture of what a man should be in my life and I was not going to settle for less. It became clearer to me just how much young people growing up without both parents are missing. 70% of African American families presently are single parent homes. Staggering statistics such as this make me ask myself questions like “How do we fix this?” and “What can I do to help?”

This was buttressed by a Larry King Live special titled Women & Self Worth: Defining One's Self Could Be the Key to Complete Success. That was the magical moment. “I have a message,” I thought. It was literally like “Ding, dong!” I picked up my Blackberry and started to type....

Having a happy childhood that was full of love has a direct relationship to who I am today. I make the distinction between wealth that is superficial (material), and wealth of the mind and spirit in the book. It saddens me as I look around daily and realize certain life lessons I took for granted growing up were not taught to many and the so called “common sense” is actually quite uncommon.

Being an MD, I frequently share these views with my patients. I just never dreamt I would be a published writer. I have always written for fun however. When I was young, I would write sixteen page letters to my friends in boarding schools and they would report back to me that they eagerly awaited my letters and read them with their peers. More recently, it was Facebook notes and the likes.

BPM:  Who do you want to reach with your book and the message within?
My target audiences are women, African Americans and immigrants. That however does not preclude someone outside of those demographics from benefiting from the book as my readers have demonstrated. The message of hope is of relevance to a general audience. All the men I have heard feedback from have had a very positive response to the book. My reviewer from Midwest Book Review was actually a man.

BPM:  How will reading your book shape the readers’ lives?
It will shape their lives by giving them the confidence to start to take control of their situation and stop feeling like victims of circumstances, regardless of their background or their past. The book communicates a can-do attitude. It’s about empowerment, hope, faith, possibilities and constantly improving ourselves in life, hence the title: The Only Way is Up. It paints a picture of just what we can achieve if we start by conceiving it in our minds and then taking action which ultimately brings about a change in our situation. It’s really more about an initial change in attitude which then translates to a renewed confidence and an eventual change in actions. It’s uphill from there.

BPM:  What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?

To give a clearer picture, some of the issues that are the focus of this book are:
· Identity & Gender roles
· Health & Preventive medicine
· Finding a mate
· Relationships & Family
· Single parenthood
· Teenage pregnancies
· Diet & Nutrition
· Global exposure
· Positivity & Loving yourself
· Spirituality and faith
· Life outside the United States

BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in the book?
I think that’s different for everybody. For me, it was the parts of the book where I discuss my past failures, be it in relationships or otherwise. But it really depends on who is reading it I would say!

BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want them to feel empowered. I want them to feel they can do anything and everything because they can. I want them to take control of their situation and make things happen because they can. Yes we can!

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others in the same genre?
I believe these are mainly two things. I have not come across any self help book that addresses as many issues as I do in this book that is written by an immigrant. There are a lot of amazing self help books out there written by wonderful people but usually, there's a 400 page book about dating, or a 300 page book about spirituality or another separate book about finance. Also, the books I have seen written by immigrants are mostly either a biography or fiction. What I have done is like a summary book so to speak. It's about a change in attitude and perception. For that person that does not have the time or the resources to buy ten different books on each subject matter, my book is it. Another factor is the fact that I was born in the UK, raised in both the UK and Nigeria and have lived in the United States for 10 years. It gives me a global view; a view from within and without. Now, that's priceless wouldn't you say?

BPM:  Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Midwest Book review gave me 5 stars. I had a free book giveaway contest on Goodreads for a week (I just joined actually) and 616 people were interested. My signings are going well and the bookstore workers often make comments like, “I have never seen an author sell that many books in an hour.” This happened on a day after we had 3 inches of snow in Atlanta which meant most people never stepped out of their house! So yes, the response has been very positive and the challenge is getting the word out there about my book. I already know there is a huge market for my message. I just need to continue to strive to connect to my audience better.

BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact info.

Empowering You, the official blog for The Only Way is Up: http://theonlywayisupblog.blogspot.com/

This ‘n’ That blog, my writer’s blog: http://folaketaylor.blogspot.com/

MBR review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3KLKIOVHL4BKP/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Amazon.com link:  http://www.amazon.com/Only-Way-Up-Journey-Immigrant/dp/1448618010?&camp=212361&linkCode=wey&tag=thnthwrsbl-20&creative=380725

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