It is a great pleasure to interview, LaToya Thomas, a children’s book author. LaToya’s new book ‘You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are’ will be published on Amazon on 23rd February 2019. We hope that you would enjoy LaToya’s interview as much as we did.
Describe yourself in five words
Responsible, loyal, fun, busy and determined
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I am not afraid to fail. At least then I will have at least tried.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I research… a lot. I weigh the pros and cons. Being an optimist by nature certainly helps.
What scares you the most?
What makes you happiest?
Completing projects on my to do list, peace of mind and vacations
Why do you write?
I write when I have a message to share or when I randomly get inspired. I work with children and children are funny. I always find myself thinking, “That would make a great story!”
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes, I have always enjoyed writing. I used to write plays when I was a child. I also kept a journal since as far back as I can remember.
What motivates you to write?
The children I work with motivate me to write. My daughter was the driving force behind my book You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are. Then, there were countless conversations between myself and other adults that confirmed that writing the book was necessary.
What writing are you most proud of?
I am proud of the way people have been so receptive of You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are. When I wrote the story, I never told anyone until after it was written, illustrated and ready for print. Then, I blasted it to the world. I could not believe the response I received. There were people who told me they cried. One person actually cried while reading the book in front of me. We cried together. It was awesome!
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
In my personal life, I am proud to be accomplishing my goals one by one. It has not been easy, but every time I set my mind to something and I focus, I reach my goal. That is worth being proud! Now, I am working on celebrating these accomplishments. I have not always been good at that. I rarely stop to smell the roses and I believe it is important to do that.
What books did you love growing up?
Growing up, I loved Amelia Bedelia. I thought those books were hilarious. I also loved Dr. Seuss books and the way they were written. My mom would order children’s magazines for me and I remember loving to do the activities inside.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
Yikes! Uhhh. I hope to live forever. Haha, but if I must go I hope people will remember the many ways in which I tried to help people, my giving spirit and my optimism.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in the city of Philadelphia PA, west philly to be exact. I currently live approx. 30 mins west of where I grew up, in King of Prussia PA. Its more suburban here.
How did you develop your writing?
I was always given writing materials as a child. I had tons of notebooks, so that is where it all started. In college, I took some courses that required writing research papers. I enjoyed it. I love research and when you are well versed on a subject writing about it is easy.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing by far is the hardest. However, the reality is none of it is hard. It’s all easy. It’s just tedious, costly and/or time consuming… or all of the above!
What marketing works for you?
I have found that social media sites can be very helpful. Also, there is nothing like word of mouth. Luckily, that is one concept from the past that we still have. People love to share what the love… and of course, what they don’t.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
I don’t find it hard to share my work. I do get weird feelings though, sort of like butterflies. I always want everything to be perfect, so I find myself giving disclaimers and explanations that are totally unnecessary.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
I have received nothing but great vibes from everyone. I am so grateful for the support I have received.
What else do you do, other than write?
I work with children. I have worked with children for the past 19 years. I have experience with children who have special needs. It has been very rewarding to be a part of their lives.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I have studied early childhood education and behavioral science. I would probably continue to study psychology. I love psychology. Much of behavioral science is also psychology, but it also has human services and a sociological component.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Miami Florida, Atlanta Georgia and where I currently live. Preferably a home in each state.
Tell us about your family?
I have two children, ages 12 and 8. They are amazing.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
All of the above and even on my phone if I am not near my computer or don’t have a pen and paper.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
I need between 6 and a half and 8 hours of sleep. I wish I could only get a couple hours of sleep and still be at my best, but that was not in the cards for me..
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
I would like to thank my mom for always being there for me. She really did an amazing job and I am still realizing the sacrifices she made as a mother, especially since I am now at that stage in life myself.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
A successful writing career to me would be creating books that connect with people. I would like people to read one of my books and want to read more of my books. Books can have an emotional connection with readers. That is my goal, to be able to connect with readers. Of course, I would like to sell massive amounts of books, become a bestselling author and make a living from writing my books. That would be the ultimate goal.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
Because You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are is written for children and is in picture book form, my readers are mostly parents, caregivers and young children. I am interested in marketing to schools, childcare centers, libraries, conferences and most certainly book stores. I will be offering author visits. I will also have a social media presence and I am counting on word of mouth as well.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
I wrote You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are because I realized that there is a lack of self-love in our society. I wanted to be encouraging to other adults, ones who would read my book to their children. My hope is to instill self-love, confidence, encouragement and acceptance of self and others in young children.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
The first person to come to mind is my Grandpa Jim. I remember being a child and we would play board games as a family. No one could ever beat Grandpa Jim in checkers, but one day I did it! I beat him. It was the best feeling. I would invite Grandpa Jim over and we would play checkers until we were tired of playing, which would take a long time. (This question brought me to tears.)
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
When I am not writing, I love to swim, shop, dine at new fancy restaurants and travel the world. There are so many places I would love to see!
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope people will get reminders of their self-worth and the importance of self-care, self-love and conficdence. I hope these people will then share the message of accepting themselves and also accepting others as they are. Then, and only then, will the world be a better place.