I Don't Like Racism by Tymeka Coney Genre: Children's Picture Book
This book tells the story of racism through the eyes of a young African-American girl, DaNyla, and her experiences with racism as she witnesses her cousin involved in police brutality and she tries to understand why racism exists. She talks to her Mom, and her History Teacher about racism to better understand where it evolved, then she prays about it and decides to continue to dream and hope for change for a better tomorrow as she still continues to fight for what's right peacefully all while still loving her family and her multicultural friends.
This story will teach all ages, genders and nationalities about racism and it seeks to inspire us all to unite and love one another despite the color of our skin.
Tymeka Coney is an actress, producer, director, playwright, poet, songwriter, voiceover and now activist with the release of her new children's picture book, "I Don't Like Racism," which was inspired by the police brutality she has witnessed in the world and first hand. Tymeka's first book was "Words Unspoken: Volume I-Deeper Than Eyes Can See," poetry book released in 2011. She also has a Spoken Word album, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dreams," available on Amazon and her recent extended single "COVID 19- Social Distancing," also on Amazon.
She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and now resides in Los Angeles, California where she gives back to the community by teaching young people how to read and write and acting.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author? I am a Writer at Heart. I write everything from songs, to TV&Film scripts to poetry which is basically how I became an author. My first book published was a book of poetry.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Hmm...I would say that I am really introverted and sometimes reserved/shy at first meeting but once I get to know you I can be lots of fun and I have a great sense of humor if you can open me up.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I have experienced Police Brutality first hand and I still live to tell my story and Thank God I am not a statistic but I can be a part of the conversation.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I don't like rude people and pessimistic people or people that tell you something can't be done when they know and you know that it can be. Don't give me a problem without a solution.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Wow...I would probably spend my last day praying for more time on the clock...because I have so many other things that I want to complete before that last day and I would not believe that my time would be up before I completed those purpose filled tasks.
Who is your hero and why?
Man... I have so many Heroes. My Heroes are anyone who has survived something. My Mother....She has strength, courage and wisdom....
My Grandmother who was 89 years old that just passed away April 2020...She was my hero because she fought until her last breath...and had survived so much in 89 years.
Also...anyone that has survived racism Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey also anyone that has survived and overcome to become successful..and one of my Heroes is Tyler Perry. He has an amazing rags to riches story and he travels his own path to success..He went from Homelessness to a Billionaire through Arts & Entertainment...
What kind of world ruler would you be? I would be a world ruler for Peace, Love and Equality for all mankind no matter their race, age, creed, religion, sexuality, disability, gender, socio economic status etc.
What are you passionate about these days? I'm passionate about creative writing and sharing my creative writing with the world and putting positive projects into the world that can enhance the lives of others. I am also passionate about spreading messages of hope, peace and love and positivity in a world full of negativity.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I have a great conversation on the phone with a family member or friend to relax.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I'm not a parent but I would say create a schedule for writing and stick to it. If you have a child then make sure they can have play time while you have write time so that both of you are occupied doing something you enjoy that won't distract the other. :)
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Tenacious, Creative, Nurturing, Resourceful, Leader
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have been writing since my youth. I actually first got paid for a poem I wrote in a poetry contest in Junior High. I would say then I knew I was a writer because I got paid for it.
Do you have a favorite movie?
My Favorite movie is "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate." It stars Martin Lawrence, Lynn Whitfield and Regina King. I like it because it is layered with comedy, drama, emotions, psychotic behaviors, love so many emotions in one movie and Lynn Whitfield's character explores a wide range of emotions as an Actress.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I have two books and I believe this book "I Don't Like Racism" can be an animation movie or tv show.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I'm not aware of any literary pilgrimages I've been on.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I would say I am a Lion...Hear Me Roar!! There's strength in what I have to say!
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book because I had something to say about racism and I wanted to be a part of the conversation and I wanted to make a contribution to positive change through my gifts and after prayer and meditation this was the project that came to me and I continued to move on it and everything started to flow together. It has been 9 years since I wrote my 1st book so it was also time to give birth to another book and the Pandemic afforded me a chance to do that.
What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect more children's books. I really enjoyed the process and you can expect a book about Wisdom, you can expect another Poetry book as I have a Volume I so there has to be a Volume II. You can expect me to continue to write and create media that is thought provoking and entertaining with a message. I will continue to Entertain, Educate and Empower.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
No, I can't think of any side stories about the characters.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in the book?
In "I Don't Like Racism," the main character is DaNyla. The story is told through her eyes as she witnesses police brutality done to her cousin and then she goes on a journey to find out why racism exists as she talks to her Mom, her Dad and her history teacher. She prays and seeks change through protesting and other positive community efforts and she continues to play with and continues to love on her multicultural friends.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I basically thought it would be great to see a young girl talk about her views on racism and how it affects her and this would be good to educate children all ages about the subject of racism.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
DaNyla is- (DA)Dallas where I am from and my two favorite entertainment cities (NY) New York and (LA) Los Angeles and Los Angeles is where I now reside. Her name is made up of three major cities where I want to really push the book to as well.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed telling the illustrator the vision for the scene and based on what I described to her...Seeing her come back with an illustration that captured my vision and fit perfectly with the words I had written for the scene.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
What makes DaNyla tick is going on a journey to see why racism exists and how she can be a part of the peaceful protest to change/eradicate racism in her community and in the world.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
The title of my first book was Words Unspoken: Volume I- Deeper Than Eyes Can See (This title was simply me sharing all the words I write but never speak out loud and allowing readers a chance to hear my thoughts on love, relationships, historical subjects, entertainers, purpose and so much more.
The title for this book "I Don't Like Racism" was simply the first words that the main character DaNyla said and this is how she truly feels about racism and this became the premise/theme for the whole book.
Who designed your book covers?
I design my book covers. I tell the graphic artist/illustrator exactly- the colors I want, the images, the layout and design of the book from front to back and we keep working at it until I can say... Yes...this is my vision...Love It!!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I had to do it all over again... I would have started sooner on this book because this topic is so urgent for the current times we are living in.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that this topic really does affect all ages. I didn't realize that there were kids as early as six years old that are aware of racism and its affects on the human race and the importance of being an African-American children's book author as we only make up 7% in this category.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If my book was made into a film I would like Marsai Martin or Quvenzhané Wallis.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I want to tell the readers to spread the message and the word about this book and please do write a review on Amazon etc. about what you have read and learned as a result of reading the book.
How did you come up with name of this book?
The title of this book was from the first words I had my character say. I thought it would make a great title.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
My favorite part of the book is when she says "I love everyone, no matter their race. We are all different but we can all still embrace." Then we see her in the illustration in the center of her multicultural friends.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would definitely spend time with the main character DaNyla and I would go on the journey with her to eradicate racism.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
They are all from my imagination and what could happen.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I have the reigns and I pass the baton to allow my characters to have the reign. This book is a must read because it's going to teach us all the value of loving each other despite the color of our skin and it is a must read because racism is relevant right now.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have not written any other books that aren't published, I have two published books.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
If my book had a candle it would be vanilla because it is a popular fragrance that most people like and buy and it has a sweet aroma to it.
What did you edit out of this book?
I edited out a few illustrations that didn't quite align with the words I wrote.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I'm inspired by all the African American children's book authors that are on the bestseller's list like a few are:
Matthew Cherry- "Hair Love" and Grace Byers-"I Am Enough," and so many others.
I would ask how it feels to be on the bestsellers list and some of the steps they took with their book to get there in this genre.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
Did you know this book was written in one day? Did you know that the Author is really an introvert/reserved and somewhat shy and she communicates better through writing which is why she enjoys it because it is a form of self expression and it is relaxing and cathartic?
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors? Too many books and Authors to name but I can throw out a few....T.D.Jakes, Joel Osteen, Devon Franklin- I have like 4+ of each of their books, Steve Harvey, Suze Orman, Terry McMillan-(Books to Movies), Tymeka Coney :), The Four Agreements, Think and Grow Rich, Linda Goodman- Astrology books(Intriguing info).
What book do you think everyone should read?
The Bible. It has wisdom and guidance. It is a manual for direction/challenges in life and gives you insight into the future and how to navigate life's many challenges.
How long have you been writing?
As far as I can remember I was writing since I was 5 years old.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Depending on what I am writing.. the process is different. If I am writing a stageplay or a film or tv project, I have an idea and an outline of the characters I want to write about and then the dialogue from these characters drives the story. As far as the book the characters came as I was writing and once I saw the 1st illustration then my imagination continued to evolve.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I don't do much research about the actual content of the book because the content comes from me internally. I do research on marketing and I look at other books in my genre and get inspired by their success and how they achieved it.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes! I would love to have a full time career as a writer and public speaker and be financially secure as a writer and not have to have supplemental income. I know there's nothing like doing what you love and making a living/getting paid for it.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think that the publishing market is becoming more open and aware of great Self- Published books and indie publishers and not just major publishers and books published by major publishers. I think the publishing market is going more to online tours and online book sales and book readers and interactions as opposed to brick and mortar stores and in person book signings and interactions.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love reading. I like reading Self Help, Biographies, Business and Finance and Inspirational Books.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
OMG! I have to write in silence. I can concentrate and hear myself think and my thoughts and imaginations can flow without any distractions or interferences with the words and visions that flow to me when it's quiet. If I hear noise..I will focus on the noise and not the flow of thoughts coming to me.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I have several book ideas and concepts and outlines at the same time but I can only focus on writing one book at a time so that I can give it the full attention to details it needs and complete it.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
I'm thinking Chicken Soup for the Soul or The Purpose Driven Life..Both of these books inspire people and have sold millions of copies.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Pen and Computer.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I enjoy Shakespeare and most of the characters in the performances in Shakespeare like Othello and Romeo and Juliet etc.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I enjoy being an author. I wrote poetry alot and I compiled my collection of poetry into my first book and that was when I became an author 9 years ago. I wanted to write another book and this was the perfect time. I feel a sense of purpose and I enjoy sharing my thoughts to excel the lives of others mentally and emotionally to evoke change. I enjoy sharing my gift with the masses and meeting new people through the opportunities that being an author affords me.
A day in the life of the author?
In the day and the life of an Author everyday can be different. It really depends on what process of writing or completing your book you are in. I know lately my days have been spent burning the candles at both ends talking to my publishers about my book design and layout and measurements and distribution for the book.
I spend time listening to webinars about publishing from successful authors. I spend time responding to and researching/ seeking opportunities to market and share the book with the target audience for the book and making sure that I have all of my materials for the book updated in terms of graphics and book links etc. and then I get up from the computer and take a walk for a breath of fresh air and a chance to think about my next plan of action for the book then I respond to some of my team members who have ideas about the book and marketing and then at the end of the day I try to catch up on personal chores and relax by connecting with my family, friends, loved ones and/or social media.
Advice they would give new authors?
Advice I would give a new author is just to trust yourself and just write. Don't worry about format or anything structurally and just pretty much write what downloads to you and then when you are finished with this process then go back and deal with the format and structure so that these things don't prevent you from your creative process. I would say listen to webinars from other writers or find a mentor or research info about an author that writes the genre you desire to write.
Describe your writing style.
My writing style is to write when I feel it and not force it. My writing style is to write what flows naturally even if I am writing a song...I listen to the beat and I write the first thing that comes to mind. When I write..my style is to let it flow naturally and not second guess my natural instincts or what my gut feeling is telling me to write.
What makes a good story?
I believe a good story is authentic and as they say when a writer writes what they know then it is authentic. A good story also has a good beginning, middle and end and the protagonist is fighting for something and readers can instantly connect with the protagonist and the story and go on a journey with the story until the end.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading my book over and over again and becoming excited for the release as it is currently in the Pre-Order stage.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I think outlines are great as they guide you even writing the table of contents can help you. I mentioned this before. Writers shouldn't second guess themselves but just flow with what they are passionate about, what they know about, what they have experienced. Everyone has a story to tell. Go with that and not what you think people want to hear but what you would like to share with them.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My writing Kryptonite is writing in a quiet place alone by myself. It is enjoying what I am writing so much that I look up and I'm like 30 pages in and that can be a script or a book manuscript.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am original in the initial creative writing process but after the 1st draft is done I then go back and edit it for what readers may want that's relative to what i've written in terms of marketing elements I can add to the overall finish of the project. It is a balance certainly between my original writing and the writing released to market and I try to look at it from both angles.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
It would have been to write more and to make time to write something everyday so that I could have more completed writing projects in my writer's vault.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I don't have any challenges...I can hear all genders talking and having conversations when I write characters.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Hmmmm......Well so far....my all time record is a day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do believe in writer's block. When it happens on a particular project...Don't force it...Just start writing on something else that moves you.
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