I’m on a journey. A journey to become a young adult novelist.
On the surface, this appears to be a unique journey for someone who has spent her career as a journalist, marketing communications manager, and public relations and marketing firm entrepreneur. Open further examination, one will find all is in perfect alignment. Many of us would-be creatives, land in traditional careers where we are able to exercise our love of writing and discovery, a bit. All too often, we were discouraged from the creative path after being told we couldn’t make a living that way. For those who believed it to be so, the starving artist moniker became real.
After writing screenplays for years and pounding the pavement in Hollywood, I’ve now completed a young adult novel. I believe it has movie potential. My protagonist is an African-American teen with superhero powers, a love of all things spy-related and a science enthusiast. His friends mirror our multi-cultural world.
My love of books began early with my parents reading to me. Once I discovered my local public and school libraries, I visited daily, devouring books like candy. I faced a conundrum: I wanted to read about characters who looked like me, a young African-American girl. I enlisted librarians to help me in this quest.
I was immersing myself in worlds unlike my own small Wisconsin town. Reading biographies and fiction featuring characters of color was helping me imagine the heights I could reach in my life.
Once I birthed my own child, I wanted this beloved African-American child to see his own gorgeous round brown face reflected in the books we read together and those he would later read on his own. I wanted him to understand that his heritage afforded him riches he could adorn himself in.
The 1,000 Books before Kindergarten program is notable. Libraries across the country have adopted this program to prepare kids for formal schooling. What will children of color think as they realize these books rarely contain a face looking back that mirrors them?
As an African-American writer, I am poised to make my contribution and produce books for and about people of color. I want to write books to help children of all colors find themselves and their own voices. As noted, my young adult novel introduces a teen with a love of science and spy gadgetry, combined with superhero powers. He also has a kind heart. In our multi-cultural world, I want a world of diverse books. Our future generation can teach our current generation a thing or two.