Leslie: Well, my name is Leslie Saint-Julien. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. My parents emigrated to the U.S. from Haiti, so I am half Haitian and American. I have one older sister who I look up to dearly. I am happily single and do not have any children yet. I am extremely proud of where I am from and of my cultural roots. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love to “rep my city” and “my island”! I currently reside in Maryland where I went to college and this is also the state where my faith has grown. So, I now “rep my alma mater” the University of Maryland! Go Terps! –And, I “rep Jesus Christ”! I am an extreme extrovert in spirit yet also extremely introverted and private at heart. What I mean by that, is, I deeply desire to connect with all people and it is my natural spirit that allows me to do so, yet my heart is extremely reserved and I do not always know how to handle much attention. So, I choose to be private most of the time. I’ve been secretly working on my book for six years. It took a long time for me to decide to let the world in on my most personal thoughts. I take so much pride in everything I do, from the most miniscule project to the most grandeurs work. I am a perfectionist, so I take time and extra care to complete things. I have a deep passion to lead young people into a positive direction. I remember being young and it was the best time of my life. I want to help shape the lives of young people in a way that will be unforgettable to them! You only get one chance to be young and many of the youth today are not able to have the same opportunities. My hope is to open my doors to inner city youth to create a space for them to grow and enjoy the best moments of their lives.
Adrian: What is the title of your book?
Leslie: The title of my book is called More Than Me: A Compilation of Poetry, Thoughts and Songs. It is titled such because I cannot take credit for the gifts that are released in this book. It is more than me that writes these pages, it is and must be God.
Adrian: What is your book about?
Leslie: My book is a collection of writings about the experiences I have endured in my love relationships, encounters that left lasting impressions on my heart, and I express my deep beliefs on life and my love for God and my relationship with Him. You will learn of the pride of my cultural roots and of the love I have for those dear to me. Overall, this is a collection of poetic thoughts painted in rhythmic tones filled with emotion and courage.
Adrian: What inspired you to write your book?
Leslie: I have been writing music and poetry since I was 12 years old. I have always written my inspirations down in so many places, from notebooks, shoe box lids, paper bags, loose pieces of paper, on my computer and where eve I can write. I continued this way all the way through college and ended up losing many of my greatest pieces. In 2007, I decided I wanted to preserve my work and have a documented legacy to leave behind for my family and for my future children. Writing is the most personal time I spend with myself and where I have the most confidence. Confidence is not something I display daily. Writing is also a way for me to respond to the many events that I endure in life and situations that I encounter. My poetry is therapeutic for me and helps me to release my emotions. I felt like it was time for me to finally be outwardly confident in the most profound way to help me with my own esteem and help inspire others around me to follow their heart and be confident in life as well. God spoke to me, and told me it was time. So I started to gather my writings and plan for the book in October of 2007.
Adrian: What do you want to accomplish with your book?
Leslie: I hope to touch the hearts of people.
Adrian: What else do you have going on beside the book?
Leslie: Besides the book, I am building a house for young people ages pre-teen to teen where they can visit daily and gain emotional support as they journey through life. This house will be a true home and I hope that young people will come to learn how to maintain high self-esteem and be encouraged to follow their dreams. I want to teach children to be great, because they are! I want young people to strive for the best and expect nothing less. If you have high hopes, you can achieve great things.
Adrian: Is this a nonprofit organization?
Leslie: Yes, my house for youth will be established as a non-profit entity.
Adrian: Will you be writing another book?
Leslie: I have already begun writing my second book! I am being compelled to do so. It will be a book of fiction. I hope to have it written before the end of this year. What I want readers to take away from my writings is to recognize my emotional strength and courage. Hopefully, my writings will help people cope with their emotional challenges in life.
Adrian: Is there anything else that you are involved in?
Leslie: I have a full plate right now with work and school work as I complete my M.B.A. and continue my law school pursuit. God has also placed it on my heart to seek a Master of Divinity in Theological Studies. So, I will be involved in school for a while! Simultaneously, I will continue to be available for motivational speaking engagements and women’s empowerment seminars. I participate in local events that support women’s health, women’s empowerment, youth empowerment, and spiritual health. I am a member of Ebenezer A.M.E. in Ft. Washington, MD.