What inspired you to write your first book?
I created many of the characters in the Miss Bonita and Friends series years ago when I worked in day care and social work. Young children would openly mention serious issues such as divorce, death, grief and anger to name a few. At that time there was no real protocol or accepted outlet to address these topics. The teachers hoped the kids would simply forget and the issues were most often ignored unless it became a real problem. I created fantasy characters and stories that had similar challenges and shared the stories with students. What transpired was amazing, the children immediately were engaged, most of the kids shared stories of their own and the mood would become lifted and happy. Time passed and I forgot all about these amazing characters I created that helped the children so long ago. Fast forward about 20 years, the sudden ending of my marriage sent me and my family into crisis. It wasn’t until I felt totally destroyed and in grief, that I turned to the characters I had created so long ago for help to rebuild my life and the Miss Bonita and Friends series was born.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book?
Inside Miss Bonita’s living room on top of the fireplace there is a portrait of her parents that look just like my parents. The first three books in the series are unintentionally the exact same number of pages. I write all my stories using a pen and paper. Grownups think that the world of Miss Bonita and Friends and the characters aren’t real.
How did it feel to become a published author?
I felt so excited to hold my first book in my hands, but nothing could compare to the joy l felt when I saw my book in the hands of a child reading it!
Tell everyone about your web series?
Miss Bonita and Friends is an exciting and magical children’s series of books, web and musical live shows where the characters go on adventures to help children solve their problems around the world. The web series Mission Bonita is a variety show spin-off from the children series “Miss Bonita and Friends”.
Any upcoming projects coming up that you would like to share with readers?
We are thrilled to have celebrated the 25th anniversary of Black History month with the launch of our first Canadian special edition book in our new global series. This book is a collaboration with and inspired by the extraordinary life of the Honorable Dr. Jean Augustine, a real Canadian heroine, who changed the educational and racial landscape in Canada. This new global series connects millions of children around the world who feel alone and isolated with their problems. The stories show children that they are not alone and even great people had problems to deal with when they were growing up. The series empowers children by providing them the guidance and tools they need to help themselves and others around them.
Concert or Broadway Play?
I grew up in New York city and although I didn’t get to go to many Broadway plays, I was a regular at every off-Broadway play. I would always choose a Broadway play over anything, anytime!
Fish and Grits or Chicken and Waffles?
I am a big foodie and love just about every kind of food, but I do love my fish and grits.
What album had the biggest impact on you as a teenager?
It’s impossible for me to choose one album that had the biggest impact on me as a teenager. Prince’s Purple Rain was huge, Madonna’s True Blue and Michael Jackson’s Thriller definitely stand out in my mind and are forever in my heart.
What activities brought you joy and made you feel alive as a child?
One of my favorite activities as a child was creating and building villages with my Smurfs. I would build a whole community from cardboard and paint roads and highways. I would spend hours arranging all the Smurfs and scenarios. I loved playing any make believe and imaginary games. One of my other favorite activities was going to the beach. I would jump and splash in the waves, walk up and down the boardwalk and daydream in the sun.
If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose?
I would love to be trapped in Scooby Doo with Scooby and the gang solving mysteries. I would hang out with Shaggy and Scooby eating and acting scared, then I would help Fred, Daphne and Velma solve the mystery. I would want to be on the episode with the Loch Ness Monster, because I’ve never been to Scotland or stayed in a castle.
When you’re feeling down, who or what is your biggest go-to person or activity?
When I need to relax or cheer myself up, I prepare a yummy snack of a variety of chips and cookies. Lock myself in my room with my dogs and binge watch my favorite shows such as Murdoch Mysteries and Supernatural.
Tell me something about yourself that sounds made up, but is 100% true?
I love to socialize and meet new people one on one and I can have an interesting conversation with almost anyone, but I suffer from social anxiety. I get very stressed in large social gatherings like weddings and parties, especially when I don’t know anyone there. I dread going to these events so much that I often opt out and stay home. Everything about them stresses me, from having my picture taken, to being filmed on camera or having to speak publicly. I have sent my daughter in my place to countless events all over the world, even to meet celebrities and presidents on my behalf. Hand to God 100% true.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
Facebook: Miss Bonita and Friends children’s series. Instagram: Mission Bonita.