Author’s Bio: Melissa Phillips Jordan, Ph.D. is a psychologist and author with many years of experience working with children. She was inspired to write about the experiences of children, and to add to the diversity of children’s book literature. Her children’s book captures the immigrant experience of a child in a relatable manner. She has had her own immigration experience of being U.S. born, subsequently living abroad in her parents' home country of Trinidad and Tobago, and then adjusting to returning to the U.S. as an adolescent. Currently, she lives with her family in Maryland where she enjoys new adventures, being creative, and giving a voice to children and their stories.
What inspired you to write your book?
MPJ: I wanted my first book to be about what I know. I know the experience of being a second generation immigrant, about being different and learning to be okay with that. That’s what this book is about. I wanted to tell the story through the eyes and ears of a young girl to whom anyone reading the story could relate.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
MPJ: I find many authors fabulously inspiring! From childhood, I remember reading Enid Blyton books. The Wishing Chair was my favorite. I would float away each time I read it. While living in the Caribbean as a child, I read many Anansi stories, which are Ghanian folklore tales about a wise and mischievous spider, written by many authors. As a young adult, Sister Souljah’s Coldest Winter Ever left a strong impression. Richard Wright’s Native Son was one of the first books that made me shift from hating to wholeheartedly rooting for the main character by the end. Amazing writer! I’m also a fan of Terry McMillan, Eric Jerome Dickey, and Nicholas Sparks. I’ve recently discovered Ta-Nehishi Coates and Chimamanda Adichie and have been enjoying their books!
Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
MPJ: Yes, this is my first published book. I first wrote the manuscript back in the mid-2000’s as a part of a 4-book series. But, it was shelved for many years, and I would periodically pick it up and put it back down. That was until last year when I figured out how to make publishing a reality and discovered a financially feasible way to get the illustrations done. Once the illustrations were complete, I was able to publish within a few months.
Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
MPJ: While I have an outline and a story arc in mind, I prefer an organic flow when actually writing. I sit down to write when ideas come to me. There are times when I will hit a stride and be writing for hours for many days. Then some time might pass before I write again.
Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
MPJ: I don’t listen to music while I write. Actually, the t.v. is usually the white noise in the background when I’m writing. But, if I had to pick a theme song for this book, it would be “Don’t Worry About A Thing” by Bob Marley!
What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
MPJ: I think the key to success is to be visible through many medias, keeping in mind that you are your brand and you need to represent your brand well. Attending book festivals and fairs, writer conferences, contacting schools, and using social media are powerful tools for marketing and sales. Be a consistent, visible presence.
What advice would you give to new authors?
MPJ: What I would share with a new author is there is no need to reinvent the wheel, though you can put your own stamp on it. The resources are out there; it’s a matter of researching and networking. Keep seeking information, asking questions, and networking with others who write and inspire you. You will find out so much along the way.
How about sharing an excerpt from What Do I Sound Like?
As Kai gets off the school bus, her mother and her dog Cuddles are waiting for her.
Kai says, “Hi, Mommy.”
Her mother smiles and says, “Hi Kai! How was school today?”
Kai looks at the ground and says, “It was okay.” They begin to walk home.
Her mother asks, “It was just okay? What happened today?”
Kai asks, “Mommy, do you think I talk funny?”
Her mother answers, “No. Do you think you talk funny?”
“No, but some of my friends at school say I talk funny.”
“They do?” asks her mother.
Kai looks confused and says, “Yeah, but I don't know what's funny about how I talk.”
“Well,” her mother says, “They are probably talking about what you sound like when you talk.”
Kai wonders, “What do I sound like?”
“Well, you have an accent.”
Kai looks even more confused as she walks along and says, “I have a what?”
Her mother replies, “An accent. It's the way our words sound when we say them.”
“Oh.” Kai wonders, “Well, do I sound that way right now?”
What’s next for you?
MPJ: Well, What Do I Sound Like is the first book of the Kai and Cuddles Adventure Series. I will soon be working with my illustrator for the second book in the series. I hope to have it published by this fall.
Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
· Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01KRA4QXE
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Learntocurve/
· Twitter: https://twitter.com/LearnToCurve
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.