Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I have been writing since I was a child. I can remember writing poems when I was very young and that continued to adulthood. Composing poems in my mind while riding the subway in New York City was a habit I called - Poetry in Motion.
What makes writing your passion?
I write Childrens' books and my desire is to educate, inform and inspire children with the stories that they read. The hope is that they will make a change in themselves, their community or the life of a friend or neighbor.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for over 35 years, however I have been published since 2011.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Elated. It was indescribable holding my first published book. A book where I share my thoughts and ideas with others. To know it is available all over the world was another great feeling.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Being a mother of three boys I wanted to write books for boys that they can see themselves. So my Childrens book series features a nine year old boy Freddie who does good things in his community. He experiences social, emotional and environmental issues and the books show how he deals with this in a real life situation. The other characters in the books are loosely based on individuals who I have encountered in my lifetime.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
I'm not sure if there is anything that particularly annoys me about my writing career. It has been enjoyable since I started publishing in 2011.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I get over "writer's block" by stepping away from my writing for a minute. As I always say life happens and we have to be able to roll with it or get rolled over. The idea is not to frustrate yourself as that will only extend the block. Sometimes the mind just needs to rest. One tip, engage in something that is fun and exciting that relaxes you. This will help to relieve the tension and get you in a frame of mind to get back to writing.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
The desire to educate, inform and inspire young minds keeps me going. I love interacting with children when I do my Author Visits. The wonder on their faces when I read to them and the questions they ask keeps me writing. Children want to learn and it is our duty and I believe my duty to provide the vehicle to achieve that.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell my younger self to travel more.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes I read my book reviews. I haven't had a particularly bad review. However, I take into consideration the comment if it is constructive.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
A good review is like waking up to the sun on your face. Like a gentle kiss. It really validates you as a writer and makes it all worth it.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All my books are loosely based on my life and the people around me. The name of my character for my main series in based on my husband. That was his nickname when he was a child. Freddie's First Race is based on my track career as well as my children. The Great Compost Heap is based on creating a compost when I was growing up. I work with the homeless and Who Turned the Lights Out? sheds light on this issue in a non threatening way.
There is an aspect of my life in ever book that I write, whether it is a personal experience or someone else's experience I have heard about.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
My Freddie character's experiences are based on myself and my family.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I definitely think the book cover is as important as the story, as this is the first introduction to the book. Before you even get to the back cover to read the synopsis you see the front cover. Most people buy books solely on the cover and the title.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
Being a Childrens book author I connect constantly with my readers as I do a lot of Author Visits. I encourage conversation with them and ideas about their thoughts on what Freddie the character has done and what they think he should do next.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Being recognized public is a great feeling. Children and adults refer to me as the lady who writes children's books. I get "I remember you, you read at my school", or "I have bought all the books for my son," or "When is the next book coming out?". This is a heady feeling. It is one of the driving forces that keeps me writing and producing quality books for children.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have a few authors that I read, not sure if I have a favorite. It's like asking who is favorite child. Daunting question. If I were to answer I would say I have a few authors that I have read almost all of their books - John Grisham, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts. However, I do read other authors.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
The dream is to be know worldwide as a prolific author. I would say J.K Rollings. Her story is impactful and encouraging.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No I wouldn't rewrite any of my books. I put a lot of thought and research into my books, so once I am done I am confident that the story and the presentation of the book is exactly what I want to share. This is why I don't rush the process.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I don't think I would switch places with any author. I believe we are all uniquely made and have our own paths to take. My journey will be different because of my experiences and surroundings and this helps to shape my story.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I would say to the "trolls" - be kind. It takes a lot of courage to write a book and to have it published, putting yourself out there for the world to see. Even if someone doesn't like the book, find a way to deliver the critique in a way that uplifts rather than tears down.
What would you say to your readers?
I would like to say to my readers, THANK YOU. THANK YOU for your continued support. You have made this writing journey very exciting as I seek to find new stories to share with you. I look forward to sharing more experiences with you. Take care, be well and keep reading.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I am a wife and mother of three boys who live in New Jersey.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am the Director of Development at a nonprofit agency to provides housing for the homeless and housing insecure.
I also have a nonprofit that supports independent authors as well as a publishing house that helps to brings authors books to life.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love to read, crochet, bake, cook and sometimes paint.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I had a great childhood. They say when you have a great life you get to live it twice when you reflect on it.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
I am a foodie, so my first published book was about desserts. I was trying to find a dessert that I used to have when I was growing up in Jamaica and I couldn't find a cookbook with it. I quickly realized that there was no one book that had all my favorite recipes and so I wrote - Jamaica's Forgotten Treats. This is the only book to date that has all these desserts in one place.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes I am always working on a new book. I have another Freddie book to be released in 2022 in addition to other books about growing up in Jamaica and about the writing process.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
There are several areas where there can be improvement. We need equity in education. For children of all walks of life to have access to educational tools and resources to be successful in life.
Children need to be taught life skills. In the past we used to do a better job of preparing them for work and life, however, now the focus is on teaching to the test. More and more we find children lacking in the basic skills for example reading a clock, addressing a letter. This may be things we don't use as much, because we have digital clocks or we use email. However, these are skills that help to develop the whole person.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
My three wishes
1. Equality and equity for all.
2. To be able to travel all over the world with my family.
3. To be known worldwide as an author and to have my books read to children all over the world.
What is your favorite music?
I love several genres of music - gospel, reggae, r&b and country and western.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I don't have any secrets to share.