2. How did the idea for the series come to you? The idea for the series came after I attempted to find my eldest daughter, when she was two, books with a character that she could relate to. After a lot of searching, I realized that unfortunately that character didn't exist. So I decided I needed to create my own. Blending my daughter's images and personalities, Princess Cupcake Jones was born.
3. The main character, Cupcake Jones, likes to create a mess. Can a lot of kids relate to this? Based on the feedback from Moms who have read my book, absolutely! Children love to play with their things but they are not the best at putting them back where they found them. Let's be honest, I know a few adults who aren't that good either!
4. Why is it important that the books feature African American characters? For African Americans, seeing ourselves in books is as important as a seeing a black President or a black doctor. It drives home the point that we can do and be anything we want. But African American characters in books also help with a bigger issue, namely diversity. Diversity, along with acceptance, have to be taught early. A great way to "teach" this to children is by making sure the books they read are multicultural.
6. How about Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu? Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu came about as a direct result of my 8 year old hating to clean up. You literally know exactly where she has been in the house, due to her leaving at least one of her prized possessions in that room.
8. What do you like most about writing for young minds? Definitely their imagination!! I love how children can imagine themselves as a character or in the situation that the character is in. When I meet a child, and she tells me that she is Princess Cupcake Jones, I know that I'm on the right path.
9. Which came first- the drawings and then a story- or the words and then illustrations? How do you work with your illustrator collaboratively? The words always come first. Strictly because I am a writer not a illustrator. But once a story is complete I give the vision that I have to my illustrator Michael LaDuca. It then becomes his job to bring that vision to life through the pictures. We go back and forth via telephone and/or email, making sure that all of my expectations are realized with his drawings. Obviously he nails it every time.
10. Are there times when you get writers block or are ideas always flowing? Oh I definitely get writer's block! But I just see that as part of the process. There's no point in trying to force a story, because it won't be very good. Plus when a story finally does come to you, it literally bursts out of you! And you end up rushing to get it down on paper before you forget it.