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Saturday, May 9, 2020

TAKE TEN with Iyla Krystal Smith, Children's Book Author

by Cyrus Webb

All of us have goals and dreams,and regardless of our age or where we are from we should not allow anything to keep us from them. Just ask  11 year old Iyla Krystal Smith. She is not just an author and speaker but someone who has been able to do great things in her community and shown by example what is possible.

In this interview she takes us into her success, example and latest book.

1. How does it feel, Iyla, to be a published author at your age?
It makes me feel that I can complete anything I put my mind to, and that my hard work does pay off in the end.  The way my (latest) book is being received by those that have read it makes me want to write more books.

2. Have you always known that you wanted to write?
No. When working on my first book I did not really understand what was happening.  I knew I had a thought, and I recall sharing it with my grandma. She wanted to surprise me with putting my thought into print.  Several years later as I've added to that first thought I have a published book.  It was a very exciting moment to see my story in print.

3. The first book I read from you was called Iyla’s Giving which was all about helping others. Why was a message of helping others something you wanted to share?  
My family is always helping others. My Granny Sharon told me stories about her Granny feeding children in the neighborhood in Jamaica.  My Grandma Sweetie and Grandpa Newton helps school children in Jamaica at several schools in their community.  My Granny Sharon is always volunteering and donating, and my mom is always helping.

I wanted to help, too, so I wanted my friends to help me with gifts to give to other children that was not as fortunate as my friends and me.  That is the background for my first book.  It is actually based on projects I did when I was younger.

4. I know your family is proud of you. What have your friends said about your being an author?  When I tell my friends that I am a writer and published a book they sometimes think I am kidding.  That is until I show them my books or my business card with my books.  When they see it they ask what the story is about, and they feel encouraged to write their own story.  I tell them that they can do it, and I do hope that they do.

5. Your new book is called GINGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD. Where did the idea come from?  In school we addressed bullying and how difficult it is when people are being bullied. It helps when there is a support system.   I was a team leader at school and helped my school mates when they were being bullied.  When I told my Granny about being a team leader at school with bullying she told me that she was bullied when she first came to America. She shared her story with me, and I began writing Ginger’s story.

6. In the book Ginger, the main character, is afraid at first of flying. Do you like flying?
I love flying.  I’ve been flying since I was a couple of months old.  I’ve had 3 passports.  I am looking forward to doing a lot more traveling as I get older, especially to countries overseas.  I also want to explore more American cities.  I’ve been to Jamaica, Florida, different cities in California and New York. I am hoping I can go to Bora Bora in the future.

7. In the book GINGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD one thing that Ginger realizes is that not everyone will accept her. What do you want people to know about embracing those who might be different than them?
I want everyone to know it is okay to be different.  What makes us different also makes us unique and strong.  It is a so wonderful to learn about other cultures, experience the different foods and the language.  I have friends from different countries, and I learn so much form them.  We live in such a big world, and we should embrace each other's differences as we can learn from each other.

8. Your grandmother, Sharon Jackson, is a friend of mine. You have been able to work with her on your books. What has that been like? 
My whole family is very supportive, and my Granny is always looking out for me and my future.  My Granny is fun, and we are very close.  She encourages me a lot.  When I have ideas she is happy to help me as long as it is not in the kitchen.  I like to cook and bake and she is not a fan of the kitchen. (laughs) She would rather eat raw veggies and salad than cook, but she loves to eat. We do spend a lot of time together.

9. What advice would you give to someone who has a dream of being an author or anything else? 
I would say do it!  It begins with a dream.  When you have an idea it is okay to explore your ideas. Ask your family for help or some adult in your life who can help.  Do your research. As kids we are always on the internet.

10. Thank you for your time, Iyla, and congratulations to you again. How can our readers stay connected with you? 
My readers can follow me on Facebook at IylaGiving and also on twitter @IylaGiving.  They can also visit my website and purchase my books on Amazon.  I want to thank you, Mr. Cyrus, for your continued support and for helping me put the word out about my book.  I also want to say thank you to everyone that have purchased and shared my books or have gifted my books to someone special in their life.  I am working with LEEDS PRESS and want to thank the team for all that they do.

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