Welcome to my book blog. For this Q & A, please welcome the talented author-illustrator Cecily Cline Walton who wrote the picture book The Beauty of My Skin published by 13th and Joan Publishing. She explains her journey below.
But first, Cecily is generously giving away a FREE copy of her book! To enter the contest, click HERE.
Can you describe the journey to publication for this book?
I wrote this book over 15 years ago while working as an Assistant Director of a Child Development Center in New Jersey. Initially I submitted the manuscript to several Big Publishing Companies that had a market for Picture Books. I was turned down by all of them so I tucked the manuscript away for a few years.
Where did you draw the book’s inspiration?
Growing up with my older sister people would always ask if we were biological siblings because are skin tones were completely different. It was extremely annoying and hurtful that people would assume that we did not have the same parents since my sister’s skin was darker than mine. When I became pregnant with twins I was curiously thinking which one of us would they favor the most, what would their skin look like since I am much lighter than my husband’s complexion.
Please share some of your writing process.
The words came easy to put together because it is such a short picture book. I wanted to make sure the illustrations matched perfectly to the descriptions. Fortunately, my illustrator Alyssa Liles-Amponsah was able to capture the beautiful tones that I imagined. We worked together matching each painting to the correct page. She was purposeful about making sure we showed different variations of the parents on the pages.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I am not sure when I realized I wanted to become a writer but I’ve always been a voracious reader and enjoyed bringing books into my classroom when I was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher.
Where do you see your career headed? Do you have other WIPs or projects in the pipeline you would like to mention?
I am planning to release another short picture book in the same format before challenging myself by going for a YA novel. I choose to write this book because I want all child of color to see themselves represented in stories that they read at home, in school or while walking up and down the aisle of a bookstore.
Please share your favourite kidlit books that have inspired you and served as mentor texts. Pick one classic and one contemporary book. What is it about them that moved you?
My two favorite children’s books are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archmabault, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange. I love the simplicity and easy rhyme of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It flows like a smooth song. Ezra Jack Keats was a brilliant author. The illustrations are pure and simple. They make you want to jump in the page and play in the snow along with Peter. I am fascinated with the book Ellington Was Not a Street because it brings to light the names of wonderful men who are so important to the frame work of the African American Community, not to mention that illustrator Kardir Nelson brings to life that time period on every page.
What is the best (one) piece of advice you would give to other writers?
My advice to any writer is just “Keep Going”. Whether you are self-publishing or going with a traditional publisher just “Keep Pushing”.
And a bonus Q- If you could be any flavour of ice cream, which one would you be and why?
Butter Pecan – Smooth, Salty and Sweet all together
Cecily Cline Walton resides with her family between her hometown of Atlanta, Ga and Winston-Salem, NC. She loves reading books from all genres and surrounding herself with the beauty of purple tulips. She and her three children enjoy visiting different beaches around the world, going to the movies and baking their favorite desserts.
**Facebook- Cecily Cline Walton Children’s Book Author
Where to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Skin-Cecily-Cline-Walton/dp/1732471266
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