“What’s Your Story?” is a new, guest post feature on BCBA web. Authors-traditional and self-published-are invited to write about their books, writing journey, creative process, inspiration, rewards and challenges of publishing, etc. They can go in whatever direction they choose. We are excited and grateful for their willingness to share, and we hope you enjoy our guests’ stories.
There I stand in my elementary school’s library trying to choose a novel to check out. I walk from one bookcase to another in search of finding a story similar to my own or a character that I could relate to. I board the school bus empty-handed. The next week, my homeroom teacher Mrs. Ridley asks what adventures I read about over the weekend, and I tell her that I couldn’t find a book with anyone on the cover that looked like me. She wrinkles her brow, lifts my chin with her hand, and says, “Then you should write it.”
Now, here I stand in my local Barnes & Noble thinking of those simple words from my second-grade teacher. She had no way of knowing that I would spend years writing several versions of a manuscript until perfected and that I would receive responses from uninterested publishers who felt my story didn’t align with their market or interested agents who suggested my heroine would captivate more young readers if she were “less Urban.” I stretch my hand and grab a copy of Niyah Zuri and the Pharaoh’s Throne, turning it over to read the back. Suddenly, a young girl’s voice startles me, “You look like her!” she shouts, pointing her finger at the front cover. I quickly compose myself, smile down at her, and say, “So do you.”