Q: First tell us something about yourself?
I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. My faith and my family mean everything to me. My first love of all interests and hobbies is reading. Next would be writing, and everything else follows that. I enjoy cooking, baking, gardening, and I am very interested in fitness and health. I value peace in my life and I truly enjoy giving and doing things that bring happiness to others.
Q: How and when your journey started as a writer?
That’s difficult for me to determine. I feel that I have always been a writer. In my circle of family, friends, and associates, I have always been known as a “good writer.” Whether it be for personal, business, or academic purposes, I am the “go-to” person. Everyone knows that I love writing. If I speak of my journey as an author though, I would have to say that it began when I first started to envision myself actually publishing my book rather than just dreaming, wondering, or wishing for it. That, specifically, began about 12 years ago and the passion to step out and do it became stronger as the years went by. Two years ago, I knew it had to happen and I began taking those necessary steps to ensure that it would.
Q: When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
My current book, “Johari The Great” is the first complete story that I’ve written and published. I’ve written poems and short stories for years, but those were for my personal expression, my enjoyment. This story started out that way too, but I immediately knew that it was to become something more. I knew that this was to be a complete book. I knew that it was meant to be read, enjoyed, and shared.
Q: Tell us something more about your books?
Well, because of my background in education, it’s important to me that children don’t just enjoy reading books, but that they also understand what they read. So, my focus is on comprehension, sentence structure, context clues, vocabulary, etc. I want to be sure that whether a younger child is being read to or an older child is reading my book independently, they both can get the most out of the story, enjoy it and learn something. I want to make sure that the positive message or moral of the story is clear to all ages. Also, being a Woman of Color, it’s important to me that People of Color are strongly and positively represented in my books. Children need to see people and other children who look like them, and they shouldn’t have to search so hard to find them. Diversity will always be a priority in any book I write.
Q: Why do you choose kids as your reader ? is there any specific reason?
I think I chose children because children chose me. I love children! I have always been drawn to teaching and although I have had other careers, teaching is the one that is most satisfying. Children deserve so much in this life and learning is at the top of the list! If we teach children at an early age that reading is fun, exciting, and a desirable and natural part of their lives, then perhaps later they won’t grow to see it as a chore or an assignment. Perhaps they’ll never lose that interest. We can share so much, so many powerful and beautiful messages with children through writing books for them to love. So, I believe I feel called to it somehow. I feel it’s what I am supposed to do and at this point in my life, I am so happy that I’ve accepted that.
Q: How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
In my debut book, the main character was inspired by my oldest grandson, Johari. I wrote a little story for him many years ago, intending to give it to him for his birthday. However, I immediately knew it was to be something more. I put it away and I worked on it off and on, and I just always knew it was to be a book. Over the years, different ideas and story events came to mind, and characters were added as the story developed. However, the message and the theme never changed. I was just blessed to highlight and enhance the story along the way. I was always inspired somehow and the pieces all came together bit by bit.
Q: Do you want to give any message to your readers?
Absolutely! I want my readers to know that each child has a gift within them, just waiting to be discovered. Each child has something beautiful to give to this world and they should know that the world will be a better place when they discover it. Reading about all different types of children and families, and all different types of places to go and things to do will help them discover just how unique and wonderful they really are.