Meet the authors of Rakeem and the amulet
by Olivia Lauren
Olivia: My name is Olivia Lauren. I am a child author. My sister, Alyssa
Simone and I enjoy reading all types of books. Our mother thinks we are very talented and should share our experiences with the world, so we started to write our own books, help publish other children’s authors, and review books written for children and teens like us! Steven, I really enjoyed reading your book, Raheem and the amulet. Thanks for taking this interview!
Steven: It is nice to meet you! Thank you for reviewing my book.
Olivia: I am happy to read your book and share with my friends. Today I want to learn more about your and your book, Rakeem and the amulet. First, I see that your book is dedicated to Hyde. Who is Hyde?
Steven: Hyde is our beautiful one-year old son.
Olivia: Aww, that is so sweet! How long did it take you to write and illustrate your book?
Steven: The book was written and illustrated over the course of about a year including
drafting, editing, proof reading, and deciding on our publishing strategy.
Olivia: Who is your illustrator?
Steven: I illustrated the book myself. First, I draw them manually using pen and pencil
as it is quick and easy to make minor changes. Then I redraw them on to photoshop. That’s how we get the images you see in the book.
Olivia: Based on the theme and style of the book, is one of you a scientist and one an
Steven: I am an artist. Neither of us are scientists. We both just love finding out new
information. The inventor aspect excited us and we really thought we could make a great story and include a little history. The following books will not all be about science but will be based on different aspects of history and culture.
Olivia: What inspired you to write this book?
Steven: Our son and the fact that there is a lack of non-White protagonists inspired the
creation of the book. We wanted to produce something for him to read as he grows and for our nieces, nephews, cousins, and anyone interested, really. Charesa came up with the initial idea and then it just grew naturally from there. The amulet provides us the opportunity to create books on all different topics. Specifically, the amulet allows Rakeem to travel through time and as such we can discuss anything relevant to our culture and history. We noticed a real gap in the market and wanted to create something that will aid in diversifying children’s literature.
Olivia: That is a brilliant idea. Representation does matter. There really is a need for
more books that represent all boys and girls, especially in STEM! So, what is it like writing as a couple?
Steven: Working together was easy to be honest. We know each other’s strengths and
weaknesses. We made sure that we supported each other throughout the process. I most definitely enjoyed the process. I think that respecting each other’s opinion is vital to a successful collaboration.
Olivia: Do you have advice for other writers?
Steven: The only advice I can give is not to give up. Once you are finished with your
product, do whatever it takes to get as many people to read your work as possible. Do not get discouraged by rejections. People will turn down your submissions for different reasons. I had one publisher inform us that they loved the story, but typically did not publish children’s literature. If you really want it there’s always a way. We self-published and it was a lot easier than we thought it would be.
Olivia: Thank you so much for answering my questions. Best wishes to you and