Q: First tell us something about yourself?
A: I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and my parents are from the Caribbean. I studied General Arts and Teaching at The University of Ottawa, and I hold Bachelor’s Degrees in both areas. During my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, learning about topics that interest me, watching movies and some tv shows, travelling, going for long walks outdoors and listening to music. I have been working in a credit union in Ottawa for several years and I have always loved animals!
Q: How and when did your journey start as a writer?
A: My journey as a writer started when I was very young. I was in a French Immersion programme at school, and I recall my 2nd grade English teacher asking me to assist some of the other pupils with a few writing assignments. I was only 7 and already I had a strong knack for language studies and writing! At the time, I would often write cute rhyming poems about a cat in the neighbourhood named “Kiku” who I enjoyed playing with outside. When I was 12 years old and in grade 7, our English teacher did a unit on poetry and again, I was really enthralled with the subject matter! Sometimes I was picked on at school and I found happiness staying in the teacher’s classroom at lunch and writing poems. This became a hobby for me as teenager and I wrote many different poems at the time. One was featured on the back of my high school yearbook, two were performed by me at the annual high school talent show and one was published in the National Anthology of Poetry in North America. As you can see, my journey began when I was very young, and it is still going now!
Q: When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
A: I wrote my first book in 2016 and it was published in 2017. It was a self-help book for adults about dealing with workplace issues and learning how to overcome those obstacles.
Q: Tell us something more about your books?
A: I am always fascinated by the human experience (how situations affect us, what makes us all “click”, how we can assist others, what lessons can be derived from our experiences etc.) I think that my books do have a humanistic approach and an awareness for the emotional impact that certain experiences can cause. I also tend to focus on a moralistic approach, and I write about areas that I am most familiar with so that I can write in my own truly authentic voice.
Q: Why do you choose kids as your reader? is there any specific reason?
A: As a trained teacher, I have always enjoyed working with children. One thing that I learned from being in the classroom is that while not all children might enjoy picking up a book and reading, many do enjoy having stories read to them! From my experiences as a young girl, I enjoyed reading colourful, imaginative, and engaging children’s books with a moral behind the story. I also enjoyed having stories read to me, as it was a very soothing and relaxing feeling. I wanted to share a bit of what I enjoyed reading as a child with kids today. Whether the child enjoys independent story book reading or prefers to have the story read to them (or both), I wanted to give them something enjoyable, educational, and meaningful at the same time.
Q: How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
I had a pet rabbit named Bugs for 9 years (2008-2017) and there were many ups but a few occasional downs with the new pet. Bunnies love to chew, and I was not fully prepared in the beginning! I remained patient and adaptable so eventually everything worked out with the bunny. Vylette Bunny is a fictional character, but she was inspired by Bugs. I had many hilarious and touching memories with the bunny that I had to find a way to share them. Michie (also a fictional character) would be very similar to how I was as a child. Very much in her own world, guided by her strong feelings and moral compass, sensitive, creative, and wanting to have the company of a pet. Michie’s parents were inspired by my own parents. When I was in practicum during my teacher education programme, I taught a grade 5/6 class about graphic novels. I created a demo of a graphic novel for the children, and I used a sequence of chimerical events with Bugs and a neighbourhood dog. The children were very fond of the mini adventures of Bugs. I always remember the excitement and happiness that I saw in their eyes when I presented them with the short animal story. I knew that one day, I would utilize my memories to create an illustrated children’s book about the relationship between a young girl and her pet bunny!
Q: Do you want to leave any message for your readers?
A: Sometimes when you are the quiet, reserved child who prefers to sit at the back of the class, not draw any attention to yourself or speak up in large groups, some people might doubt your capabilities and not see your greatest strengths. We are all unique and different and we bring value in our own ways. Just because you are quiet, does not mean that you are not capable! Please do not give up, always believe in who you are, never forget the people who believed in you as well and always try do the right thing! (Even when nobody is watching).