Author Interview: Jennifer Adkins
S: I would like to introduce Jennifer Adkins today. Hello Jennifer! Thank you for chatting with me today and congratulations on the BRAG Medallion! First I would like for you to tell me what has inspired you to write?
J: I was first inspired to begin writing when I was in third grade. I was fortunate during those formative years in my life to have been blessed with an amazing teacher who helped develop and mold me into the writer and teacher that I am today. I remember being obsessed with the creative writing prompt box in her classroom. This obsession soon transcended the classroom and became something that I did for fun at home and even with my friends.
S: Please tell me about your book, “Mom, Am I Different.”
J: “Mom, Am I Different” is the story of a young girl’s journey of self-discovery. Inherently introspective and curious, she is struggling to reconcile the fact that her thoughts and interests do not align with other children her age. With loving guidance from her mother, she begins to look at the world through a different lens, giving her the confidence to embrace her differences and be herself in all circumstances.
S: Is this story based on any of your own life experiences?
J: As a mother and educator of young children, I undoubtedly relate to the characters in this book on a personal level. It is very difficult for children of any age to embrace their differences with so much pressure from society to fit in. As parents and/or mentors, it is important that we create a vehicle for children to channel those differences and turn them into something positive. There are pieces of my daughters scattered throughout the entire book. I felt that if I were given one chance to leave them with a message to live by it would be to embrace their differences and use them to leave their mark on the world.
S: How long did it take you to write your story?
J: I actually came up with the idea for this story while I was cleaning the shower. The first line in the book kept playing over and over again in my head. It was almost as if a voice was whispering to me, so I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and jotted it down. Throughout the day, the rest of the story continued to unfold and by day’s end I had a very rough draft of what you see now. Thanks to the encouragement of my husband, I began the search for an illustrator who could bring my story to life. I knew that the right person would need a shared vision for my project in addition to possessing commercial appeal. I received around 150 bids for the job from around the world and ended up selecting Georgia Stylou from Greece. Honestly, I cannot imagine having tackled this endeavor without her. Every piece that she completed for me surpassed my expectations and brought the story to life in a whole new way. It took us about 4 months to complete all of the illustrations and another two months to get the book to print.
S: Is this your first published work?
J: Yes, this is my first published work.
S: What is your next book project?
J: Hmm…That’s the million dollar question! I certainly would love to have the opportunity to work on another book at some point in time. I just loved the entire creative process! I have a few ideas tucked away in the back of my head, but I think I am waiting for inspiration to strike again. What I love most about this piece is that it is heartfelt and genuine in nature. I am afraid that if I sat down and forced that process, it may not be as authentic. Maybe I will try cleaning my shower again!
S: Where do you see the self-publishing industry in five to ten years?
J: I envision a great deal of growth in the self-publishing industry over the next decade. There are a lot of individuals with stories to tell who, like me, want to maintain creative control over their projects. I believe that the biggest advantage to self-publishing is that you are in the driver’s seat and can have a direct hand in creating a vision for your story not just through words, but through pictures as well.
S: How did you discover indieBRAG?
J: As luck would have it, the author of, “The Pajama Elves” contacted me shortly after the book became available online. She had just moved to the Palm Beach area, so we ended up meeting for coffee and hit it off right away. It was her belief in my story that resulted in a nomination and ultimately, and a BRAG award.
Jennifer Adkins began her career in social work after graduating from Alma College in Michigan. After giving birth to her daughters, however, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. Currently, she is a second grade teacher in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Her inspiration for this children’s book resulted from personal experiences as both a mother and educator of young children. The writer lives with her husband Kevin, their daughters Maya and Julia, and Summer, their family dog. In her free time she enjoys running and traveling.