My parents were my biggest inspirations. They encouraged me to be avid reader, a self-assured writer, and a free thinker. In my childhood home, there were never any “no’s” when it came to books.
Tell us about yourself and what you do
I’m a wife, a mother of 4 young men, and the grandmother of one delightful 2-year-old. My family is especially important to me, and I love spending time with them. Being a boy mom is always exciting and interesting! My sons have influenced me in many ways and watching them and my husband with our family dog, Ruby, inspired me to write a children’s book, Ruby Smiles. Ruby loves my boys, and they love her, and their interaction leads to great stories.
I am also 27-year veteran teacher, and I’m very proud to say that I am a graduate of the University of Georgia and a big fan of the Bulldawgs! I teach science, and I am happy to say that I have taught middle school children all my career. Middle schoolers refresh me with their sass and their adolescent ways! I love working with children and hope my book, Ruby Smiles, inspires the love of reading in kids.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My parents were my biggest inspirations. They encouraged me to be avid reader, a self-assured writer, and a free thinker. In my childhood home, there were never any “no’s” when it came to books. I was allowed to read just about anything. I had one rule: I had to be willing to discuss anything I read with my parents. This rule led to many intriguing and honest conversations.
My mother put a pencil and journal in my hand before I was out of elementary school and told me to write. I asked her what I was supposed to write. She said whatever you wanted. In elementary school, I doodled a lot and wrote about my sibling rivalries and simple hurts that most children experience. Nothing special. And new journal kept coming. Then my mother began to give me simple prompts to write about, like what’s your favorite meal and why. I loved it! I would respond to her prompts and be so proud to show her what I’d written. She read my responses and just encouraged me. The prompts continued to come, and I continued to write until one day, I didn’t need prompts and I’d fallen in love with writing.
My father encouraged me to read nonfiction and to study about the civil right movement, differing cultures, and the great thinkers of history. We watched local and national news together, and he encouraged me to question everything. He taught me how to write my teachers with concerns and complaints about my classes, grades, and school policy. He taught me to stand up for what I believed, even when it was uncomfortable or went against convention. As I developed as a writer, I was able to speak my truth confidently because he’d made sure I knew I had a voice that deserved to be heard.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
Being a mother is my greatest achievement so far. It is not an easy job! In fact, it hard! But I’m proud of my sons! I know that being a mom is the one job that I will never be able to retire from and that will give me new challenges every day! I hope to continue to grow as a mother and to continue to be there for my boys!
Do you have any tips for our readers that are trying to break in the industry?
Don’t be afraid! Write and write often! Make it a routine that you stick to! Let others see your work and be open to criticism. Try writing in genres you don’t like and voices that are unfamiliar. Never stop reading and never stop learning.