1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
For the good part of nearly two decades, I defined myself as a journalist. Ever since having my son, Ayden, which is now 4 years ago, I primarily think of myself as a mom. So much of what motivates me and is part of my daily routine and plans and thoughts revolves around this little guy. It's funny how things can take a turn and priorities shift so drastically. I think children probably have the ability to do that more than most other factors. So most of my free time is dedicated to my son and making sure he has enriching life experiences. I would say my husband and I both think of the things we enjoy and try to pass them along to him. We are both big runners and enjoy sports, the outdoors, travel and movies. We are currently in the process of running a half marathon in each state. 20 down. 30 to go!! We also organize and sponsor a big Christmas charity event each year which we started two years ago to model the idea of giving for our son. That is big for us and largely stems for our belief in service to others and passing on at least a portion of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Reading is also big. We make sure we read to Ayden every night. There's nothing like enjoying a good book. We hope he picks up that habit as well... which might partially explain me writing a book.
2. How did you come up with the idea of The World is Awake?
I was driving in the car. My son, Ayden was 2 at the time, and out of nowhere he asked, “Who opens the flowers, God?”I was both shocked and thrilled at the same time that he would make such a connection and that he was so curious about God and the world. And it made me believe that toddlers are ready to get those answers and have a very gentle and meaningful introduction to God. Of course we have a lot of Bible books for baby at home which he enjoys hearing about David and Goliath and Daniel in the lions’ den or Jonah and the whale, but he is too young to understand the place of God in those stories. But I think that’s what we’ve accomplished in The World Is Awake is a way for toddlers to appreciate and understand those blessings and marvel and wonder of God that’s all around them just waiting to be explored.
3. What research did you do when writing The World is Awake?
Part of what inspired me is that my son is black, and when I was going to bookstores to find books for him, there aren’t a lot of books with characters that look like him. Then I started doing a little research, and I found that more than 90 percent of the protagonists in children’s books are white and yet roughly half of the children in this country are not white. Studies show that’s not healthy for kids who look to books for self-affirmation and look to books to find themselves. There is an essay about this which sums it up so well. The idea is that it’s essential that all children’s books have a window and a mirror. A mirror --for kids to see the reflection of themselves and a window so they can peer out and see a world that is unfamiliar to them. I’m proud that kids will find both in this book. I wouldn't say I wrote the book any differently based on the color of the children. The truth is... the only thing we did differently involves the illustration. Their skin is a different color from most protagonists, but isn't that the lesson after all? Sometimes the outside color is ALL that is different about us as people.
4. What was the most surprising thing you learned when writing The World is Awake?
I would say I learned what it feels like to be a child all over again…to start looking at life through the eyes of a child. This book gave me a chance to demonstrate the renewed vision I personally gained by having a little one of my own. So often as adults I think it’s easy to stop paying attention to the marvels all around us—the sunsets, rainbows or bunny rabbits. But my son has redirected my attention with his excitement and enthusiasm. He squeals, “Oooo look at the butterflies!” He’s so eager to point out what he sees and looks and chases squirrels or falling snowflakes. And that’s infectious and often things I simply had stopped noticing. Now I find myself pointing out things I know he'll love with the same vigor and say, "Ooooo..look at that chipmunk!" I would equate writing this book with remembering how good it feels to really look at a sunrise or watch a bee in a flower or roll around in fresh-cut grass. So I would say this book is my expression of all have regained through looking at life through the eyes of a child and all there is to be gained from that. I hope parents will find this as a refreshing reminder that sometimes it’s best to remember what it feels and looks like to see and explore the world with the zeal and excitement of a child.
5. Have you considered writing a sequel to The World is Awake?
I enjoyed this process so much. I love to write and tell stories. I do that for a living every day, but this was uplifting and joyful and something I can share with my son which is rewarding in a whole new way. I imagine this book is the first of many. I am currently in the early process of planning another book with the publisher. Really excited about the next project! It’s not quite a sequel but the same basic concept.
6. What is your writing habit in general? Do you write in the daytime or night?
I tend to write at night. I wait until my son is in bed…then I get myself ready for bed and begin to put some thoughts on paper. For whatever reason, I pretty much always start out writing my thoughts out on paper instead of typing them first.
7. Is there a possibility that The World is Awake could be in Visual media?
I just heard about a new concept the other day where children’s bedtime stories are projected onto the ceiling. I’m very interested in that! I think that’s a great idea, and something I hope we can be part of.
8. What has been the best compliment you heard about The World is Awake?
I actually read every comment that I can find posted online about the book. People have advised against doing that, but I like the good, bad and ugly. Being a first-time author, I wasn’t sure how people would feel about the book. So I’ve appreciated hearing all kinds of feedback. We currently have 5 stars on Amazon. Yay! But really I just relish the idea of parents and grandparents telling me how much they enjoy sharing this message with their kids/grandkids. That’s the beauty in all this… being able to create something that others really enjoy.
9. Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get back on track?
Sure. That happens to the best of them (I think)! I just come back to it. I put my thoughts down when I have them. Some days they are rushing out of my mind faster than my hand can scribble. Other days I just keep revising and scratching out. My mom is a retired English teacher. So sometimes when I am really stuck, I ask for her opinion on direction.
10. Could you express your experience at The View (link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=oovJNxL7hQo) while promoting The World is Awake?
The ladies of The View (both in front of the camera and behind) couldn’t have been nicer. I really enjoyed the experience and exposure. I was at the end of the show, so we had only about two minutes, but I think that was just enough time to get the basic headline out there about the book and what it’s all about.
11. What do you like to read in your free time?
I love suspense thrillers. Right before a long flight you can definitely find me in the bookstore skimming the best new option out there by James Patterson or Harlan Coben. At this very moment I am about to finish up a book entitled, The Wife Between Us.
12. Could you give an interesting fun fact about your interview with Michael Strahan at Good Morning America (link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzlZGdAnrGA)?
Well I loved hearing Michael read the book to the children, including my son, who were assembled that morning for the book’s debut! Michael is such an easy guy to talk to. It’s like I was just chatting with an old friend about my new book.
13. Who was your favorite author as a teenager? And who is your favorite now?
I loved all books by Beverly Cleary when I was a teenager. Was also a big fan of the Babysitters Club. My favorite now would probably be James Patterson or Wally Lamb.
14. What is your favorite bible scripture?
15. Last question, who (dead or alive) would you like to sit down and chat with?
I genuinely appreciate Mrs. Linsey Davis for answering my interview questions. This book would make an amazing gift for the young ones. I can't wait to see what Mrs. Linsey Davis is going to write up next. I'm especially interested about the projected stories from the ceiling. That would definitely liven up The World is Awake's reading experience. I wish Mrs. Linsey Davis all the best and If you want to know much more about this great author then please check out her website as well: linseytdavis.com/
Thanks as always for stopping by my blog. I hope each and everyone of you have a blessed day. Take care.