Interview with Author Carylee Carrington – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Carylee Carrington

Carylee Carrington is an author, entrepreneur and literacy advocate. She is mum to two boys, she loves to lead an active lifestyle and lives in Northern Virginia.

Motivated by her mom, the late Dr. Norma McPherson, who was a literacy coach, Carylee set out to bring the love of reading to as many children as she could. Carylee has taken her love of sharing books to YouTube. In her new show, Read With Carylee, she introduces children to children’s book authors, who share their books in their own voice. Carylee hopes to continue to bring inspirational books to children, which will motivate them to embrace differences and create a kinder future. 

Tell me more about your latest book

My latest book “Pretty Hair” was inspired by all women who have had struggles with their hair journey. So many women struggle with their hair and we have seen so many images of what people think is “pretty hair”. I have also had my struggles and I wanted to give young girls a book to help them know that there is no one type of hair that is “pretty”. They should embrace their hair and know that their beauty is from within. This is also a book about unity. I think that a lot of our differences are rooted not in hate, but misunderstanding. We see these two girls get over the misunderstanding that Jenny did not like Sophia’s hair and become friends. This is a book that I would have loved to have as a child.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The most challenging is sometimes the editing process. Your book is like your baby and many people have a hard time editing their thoughts, especially children’s books. You want to add so many nuggets of knowledge, but you need to keep it short and sweet. 

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

I am a self-published author, so I do a lot of my work before I even submit to my publishing company. I ensure that I do have my book edited, by a local editor and then ultimately by my children. It helps to have them read it outloud and you can really see and hear if what you wrote even makes sense.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Writing has always been an outlet and a way to solve problems for me. My first book “Everyone, Just Like Me,” helped me solve the problem of talking to my son about race relations and embracing differences. 

How many books have you written so far? List and name them all here

So far I have written 2 books:

   – Everyone, Just Like Me

   – Pretty Hair

What’s the best way to market your books?

The best way to market my books in the beginning was by going to schools. When I went to schools, I saw how children lit up to see that I was a normal person and that I lived in their neighbourhood or even their state. I started to find out about other authors in my area and wondered why more of them weren’t doing author visits as I was. Most of these authors worked full-time and didn’t always have the ability to visit schools due to their day jobs. So I decided to create a show, much like Reading Rainbow, but the authors would read their books. This became another way for me to promote my books as well as the other authors who appear on my show. Read With Carylee on YouTube.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

It is sometimes hard to maintain when you have a full-time job, children and other responsibilities, but there are times that I just need to be intentional and take that time to write. I often keep a notebook or something to write with at the side of my bed in case I wake up with an idea.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice for aspiring authors is to never give up. As a self-published author, that is something that I needed to remind myself. I knew that my book had a message that needed to get out. Sometimes traditional book publishers are not looking for your specific genre or topic, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. You have to keep believing in your story. 

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