Hi Shondra, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hello Latoya, my name is Shondra M. Quarles, aka Eye Heart Teaching. I was born in New Mexico and currently live in Texas. I am an Early Childhood teacher with over 20 years experience working with young children. I am also an author of children’s books. I am just getting my feet wet in regards to writing and self-publishing.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambitions for my writing career are to become a best-selling author and to sell a million copies of one of my books in my lifetime.
Which writers inspire you?
I am actually inspired by many of the children’s books I have read to the children I teach. Dr. Seuss (as controversial as he may be) is one of my inspirations. I love the rhyming style and the use of nonsense words. His books are really fun and I want to write fun books.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am currently working on a children’s book about Black Lives Matter. It is actually a poem that I wrote so it should be interesting and relative. I am very excited about the project.
What genre are your books and why?
I write children’s books because I love teaching children and reading is important to their success in life.
In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
If I could create a quote that would describe me and my writing it would be “I’m an introvert whose thoughts become pictures in readers minds.”
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
If I could choose an actress to play the main character in my book The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to go to School, I would choose Halle Berry. She is very dramatic and would bring Ms. Confetti to life.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I was actually inspired to become a writer by my kindergarten students in 2014.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write part-time. Teaching takes up a lot of my free time. It is a very demanding career.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write when I feel inspired. I can’t just sit down and write a story. I have to feel connected to an idea and then my story begins to unfold.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No, I don’t aim for a set number of words/pages in a day because I write really short stories and poetry. I could write an entire story in a day if I have inspired thought. Or, it could take longer depending on how focused I am.
Where do your ideas come from?
Some of my ideas come from my life or real life events. I have even dreamed ideas and created stories based on dreams…which is pretty interesting.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I just go wherever my ideas take me.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I have always been a creative person. However, I feel that my creativity has evolved since I began writing. The more I write, the more I think outside of the box. But, not all of my writings are actual books as of yet.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is finding the time to write while working a full time job. I have written many late nights and it can be exhausting.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I am working on a project and the hardest thing about writing this book is bringing all of the pieces together. Some writers have to hire illustrators, etc. I have to find the best person for the task, and be able to pay that individual for their talents. Writers invest a lot of resources in their projects. These resources include time and money. It is hard to write books on a budget.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
The easiest thing about writing for me is that once I have an idea my writing just flows. I am so engaged and happy when I find my flow.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The time it takes me to write a book depends on my flow. I can write a short story in day or it can take weeks or even months.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years I see myself as a successful best-selling author who is financially independent.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
The advice I would give my younger self first is to slow down and enjoy life including family. Also, don’t let other people dictate your self-worth. You are worthy of living your best life and you don’t need others to validate you. Lastly, don’t chase after people, chase after dreams….
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would love to meet Oprah and just pick her brain. She came from humble beginnings and now she is a billionaire.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
If I could have been the author of an original book it would be ( I don’t know…there are so many great stories out there. But, none of them are my story so I can honestly say ….I don’t know.)
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The advice I would give to aspiring writers is keep writing! That is all.
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