Friday, January 23, 2015

Who I am


They say no news is good news. In this case, that's true. Although I'm still amazed/shocked/etc about her Royal Highness, the Query Shark, calling my query letter splendid, I have not hit the query trenches yet. I'm going through my last rounds of edits with my CP's, but I hope to hit Query Land soon.

In the mean time, I realized I haven't said much about myself on this blog. I think waaay back I mentioned that I would blog about my journey so far, but I never got around to it. I recently entered SCBWI's Diverse Voices grant contest, and although I wasn't chosen, I decided to post a tweaked, longer version of the bio I submitted. So, here goes. 

I was born, raised, and still reside in the poorest state in the nation, Mississippi, in one of the poorest neighborhoods in its capital city. If you say the word, “Georgetown,” to anyone who is familiar with Jackson, they will define it with images of crime, drug-infestation, and poverty.

However, I saw something different.

Books have been my refuge from the moment I could read. They ignited my imagination. For me, the neighborhood crack house was a dragon’s lair that I scurried past every day before the red-eyed, scaly-skinned dope fiends attacked. My imagination was, and still is, my blanket. 

It was hard to keep it at times, though. I have a vivid memory of being six years old, riding my bike in the neighborhood park as kids do when gunshots fired off. I didn't know which direction they came from, but I rode off, not realizing I rode straight into the line of fire. Miraculously I wasn't hit, but I remember asking God to give me super speed so the next time it happened, I wouldn't even be close to the line of fire. 

Of course, I never got my wish, but this began my fascination with superheroes. From the Flash to Storm to Black Panther, I was in love. 

I also fell in love with writing. I wanted to tell my own stories. I wanted to pull my friends into the worlds I imagined, away from our hardships. Obviously I still have this love since I received a degree in Creative Writing and recently completed my first manuscript, an upper middle grade superhero novel. I hope to inspire kids in the “Georgetowns” of the world to see things differently. 

Diverse books and writers are important not because it's a good look or because diversity is a "trend." It's because kids need to be able to see themselves and see what they can become.  If it wasn't for authors like Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Nikki Giovanni, etc, showing me that someone who looks like me can do this, I probably never would've considered becoming a writer. And while I don't have an agent and haven't been published, I know it's possible because of them. 

So, to all of you diverse children's writers out there. No, scratch that, to ALL children's writers out there - keep going. That kid who hears gunshots every night needs to see a world beyond their circumstances. We have the power to fuel their imaginations and their dreams. 


  1. No one ever called an y of my queries splendid. Brava! Keep riding~~~

  2. Read your query at Query Shark and loved it. Also loved the first page shared on this blog. All I can say is "get into those query trenches." You've got a bright future ahead of you. Leap, and the net will appear.

  3. Wow! Thank you both so much. I truly appreciate it.