by Cyrus Webb for Conversations Magazine
When it comes to discussing sensitive issues such as race and disabilities with children, parents and educators are sometimes at a loss as to where to begin. Fortunately for them and all of us we have authors like M. Beatryce Shaw*. The native of Chattanooga, TN has used her own painful experiences of discrimination as a child to craft what has become know as the Brown Rose Series.
Now residing in Florence, SC, Shaw is seeing her own love of words inspire readers of all ages, passing on important lessons of acceptance and tolerance along the way.
In this interview she discusses her beginnings as a writer, the strength she gained from her mother and even shares her advice for others who want to enter the world of publishing.
Beatryce, thank you for talking with Conversations. When did you realize that writing was something you were interested in?
I think communicating with others was my first desire and writing afforded that opportunity. Mind you, this was long before the advanced technological age in which we now live.
Were you a big reader growing up?
Yes, in school that I absolutely loved attending and through collecting Classic Comics. There were no libraries or Bookmobiles accessible and my mother, despite commendable efforts to provide as a single parent, couldn't afford to purchase new books.
A lot of authors seem to write about their own experiences. How much of what you have seen and gone through has landed in a book?
Everything in the Brown Rose Series, there are two more for completion, is the product of an unfortunate incident I experienced in the fourth grade. As painful as it was, I'm really thankful to be able to write and hopefully pass a message of tolerance and respect to future readers.
Beatryce, writing can sometimes be seen as the easy part of the literary world. Marketing can be a totally different experience. How have you balanced the role of writing and promoting yourself?
Ummmm, I'm not really sure I am balanced because writing is a pleasure without parallel. I realize the greater reason I write is to share, so marketing is vital. Fortunately, I enjoy meeting and speaking with people of all ages, but the joy of writing has no real comparison.
Children's books are something I always enjoyed as a child. Why did you decide to write for children as opposed to targeting adults?
I was often asked during pioneering entrepreneurial days how I weathered racial and gender storms to attain success. When I traced the mental and physical challenges of my past, the answer was within that defining incident in grade school that could have easily crippled me as a productive individual for my entire life. A strong, determined, though illiterate mother taught me to believe in myself and adhere to principles and ethics that withstand adversity.
What last-minute advice you would give to aspiring writers that are reading this interview?
It depends on their reason for writing. I own a publishing company...Schooner Publications, Inc. and people seek information on writing a book. I always tell them that writing for pleasure versus writing for profit should be their first consideration. I write solely to send a message of tolerance and respect. There are wonderful technological advances for aspiring writers, but there aren't a lot of us who will become millionaires.
Thanks again for sharing your story with us. How can our readers find out more information about you?
My website www.schoonerpublications.com or I'm available for appearances to schools, libraries, churches, special interest groups, etc. or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* M. Beatryce Shaw was recently a guest on Conversations LIVE Radio. Listen to her interview at www.esnips.com/web/authormbeatryceshaw.