1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about
This book reminds parents and children how friendships can grow when minds and hearts are open to others who may look or seem ‘different’ from you. It may be their hair style, skin colour, clothing, body shape, mental or physical ability. The book celebrates the fact that your friends/families don’t always have to look the same as you or I do… and that is just fine.
Here is a quote from Sometimes My Friends Don’t Look Like Me… Sometimes They Don’t Look Like You:
“A friend can often teach you
the importance of being kind,
the way to be good to each other,
and to not leave anyone behind”
2) What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book for the many people whose lives reflect this message on a daily basis. For most of my life, I have chosen to surround myself with people who I care about and who care about me. It has never mattered to me what they look like even if it might have mattered to others. If you wear glasses, have green hair, wear braces on your legs or teeth, have pale skin, have dark skin, have braids in your hair, have freckles, have fur. It’s all ok.
As a teen, spinal surgery once limited me to a wheelchair so I have also experienced another degree of what it feels like when others view you ‘differently’.
3) How did you come up with the title or series of your book?
It was very easy to come up with a title for this book! I live it every day and I’m not alone! If you have friends who look like you, that is terrific of course, but my message aims to bring awareness that it might not be that way for others. The book’s primary message of ‘inclusion’, suggests that we try to be open to others and to then embrace the inner qualities which we can respect and hopefully share.
4) Why did you pick this genre?
I picked this genre because I felt that I could write well about topics which were not only significant, but which were also timeless. I wanted to write for children knowing that if positive messages can be heard and shared at an early age, learning will be the great result and positive changes will then be made.
5) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
The illustrations compliment all of my books because illustrator (Korey Scott) with whom I choose to work, understands what it is that I want to convey in each of my books. We can hear the message, but it is even more fun to see the message. Korey chooses vibrant, wonderful colours which help to bring each page alive. Although none of our books deal specifically about race, we are also proud to feature multicultural characters. When working with Korey, I know that I am satisfied when a smile is brought to my face immediately upon seeing that he has captured exactly what I was looking for in what we were attempting to create together.
6) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) allowed me to lose myself in wonderful hope and the message that most things are possible. I also loved Archie Comics and my favourite movie remains, ‘The Sound Of Music’!
7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
The most fulfilling thing about being an author (thus far) has been the joy of being able to spend time with children and to be able to share their wonderful perceptions surrounding their young lives. When I do ‘readings’, I love to ask questions about the stories and even more so, I love to hear their answers. Children are intrigued by everything in life and it shows in their eagerness to find out more with each turning page.
Whenever I read my first book, I Don’t Like Spiders But They Seem To Like Me, the stories about their spider adventures and encounters are priceless. I love hearing how loudly Daddy can scream when he sees a spider in the tub, and so on!
8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
The sole thing that I hope for the child is that he or she has enjoyed the book whether it was through the story or the illustrations. Some children are old enough to verbalize why they enjoy the story, but many more kids know that they just enjoyed it and it ends right there! That’s good enough for me!
9) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
I do not have a favourite author. I enjoy reading most things but I tend not complete a book if I am really not enjoying it. I hold a special place for the humor in Erma Bombeck’s books. I have enjoyed both Roger Moore and Portia de Rossi’s autobiographies. I have always loved The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
10) What are you working on now?
I am working on another book with a positive message! I have not yet laid out the concepts for the illustration work, but I will get there soon!