Q: First tell us something about yourself ?
As a new mother, reading books to my son that showcase minority characters in roles of leadership as well as embrace diversity is important to me. As a result, I decided to create the Aris Brown book series. I am committed to creating stories that communicate powerful life principles that help support the values we instill in our children every day. My son Aris, who is the inspiration behind my book, just turned two years old. My daughter, Chance, just turned two months old. I have been happily married to my high school sweetheart for 12 going on 13 years. After receiving my Masters of Divinity degree, my husband and I moved to Shenyang, China in a Master’s Degree program to study for three years. It was after I returned from China that I had Aris and decided that I wanted to write a book series with him as the inspiration for the main character. In addition to writing, I also give marriage counseling and am working on a podcast with my husband. I enjoy reading, weight lifting, exercising, cooking vegan dishes (especially desserts), and watching movies with my family.
Q: How and when your journey started as a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing as a child. I would write stories on printer paper, staple them together, and give the homemade books to my mom to read. As a teenager I enjoyed writing plays and skits for my church. Once I became pregnant with my son I decided I wanted to write a book series with characters that looked like him and also embraced diversity. Aris Brown and Career Day is the first book in the Aris Brown book series.
Q: When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
I wrote the first story in January of 2020. It was published and was released in October.
Q: Tell us something more about your books?
I believe that children are capable of learning important life lessons and having deep conversations about the things we experience in this world. The Aris Brown book series is an avenue for all children to learn those life lessons. Also, the book displays a diverse group of characters who teach children the importance of embracing diversity. Aris is African American, Echo is Chinese, Lahya is African, Sergey is Russian and Miguel is Mexican. These stories will communicate powerful life principles that support the values we instill in our children every day. Most of the principles taught are principles that many adults still struggle with today. However, I believe that it is better to teach our children life principles as young as possible. The Aris Brown series highlights cultural awareness, diversity, self-worth, and most importantly, making a positive difference in the world. I hope that my book allows adults and their children to have meaningful conversations.
Q: Why do you choose kids as your reader ? is there any specific reason?
I chose children’s books because I wanted my son to be able to pick up books that not only had characters that represented him and also taught important life principles. In addition, I wanted him to read books that embraced diversity and showed him what it looks like to be proud of who you are while welcoming others that are different. I want my book to be one of the many tools used to cultivate our children’s future.
Q: How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
I first thought about the principle I wanted to teach, then the story unfolded. I knew that I wanted it to be in a school setting. I thought a Career Day was something children could relate to and a great way to introduce the idea of children feeling the need to only chose one thing to pursue in life. Most of the names of the characters came from people that I met while living in China. Echo is a close friend that I met while studying and teaching in China. Lahya is a friend that I met in China who was in Medical School. Sergey is a Russian friend of my husband that we met in China. He loved to travel. Miguel is a character that I created from my imagination. Mr. James is a close friend who is a teacher. The dad is my husband and Aris is my son.
Q: Do you want to give any message for your readers?
I want my readers to know that they are all Great and that there is no limit to what they can do in life. Like Dad says in the book, “when you put limits on what you can be, then you limit what you will be.” We all have unlimited potential to do whatever we desire, so we should reach for the stars and make all of our dreams a reality.