Melissa: Hello and welcome to Lauren Simone blogs. My name is Melissa-Sue John.
Olivia Lauren: And I am Olivia!
Melissa: Today we are interviewing the authors of Bullies are Not Just Boys by Lorraine de Luna and Al B Quarles II.
Melissa: When and why did you begin writing?
Al: I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Creative writing has always been an outlet for me and definitely helped me to earn my degree as an undergraduate. In high school I wrote raps, that evolved into poetry and songs, and now I write books.
Olivia: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Al: When I published my first novel in 2014 I considered myself to be official. But I have always enjoyed writing and had excelled in classes that required a lot of writing.
Melissa: What inspired you to write Bullies are Not Just Boys?
Al: I was assisting my daughter, Lourraine, with her homework. She was charged to write a paragraph per night and then select one of those paragraphs to write a story. It was a fun process for both of us and I slowly watched a story about bullying evolve. Fortunately she was never bullied, but we can both relate to the pain that bullying can cause and know people that have been bullied.
Melissa: We really like the cover. How did you find your illustrator?
Al: I found my illustrator on LinkedIn. I did a search , put out an inquiry, and received several offers. I liked her work and offer the best.
Olivia: What is the message that you want readers to grasp besides a bullies can be girls too?
Al: That this is a topic that we need to discuss, take seriously, and help to improve for those that are often struggling in silence. To quote a popular saying, "If we are not part of the solution, we are a part of the problem."
Melissa: What did you learn writing this book about yourself?
Al: That I had a niche and love for children’s books. My previous work is based on a much different perspective.
Olivia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Al: Just start. Do not attempt to create a beautiful masterpiece or best seller, just begin to get thoughts on paper. Do not worry about structure, formatting, spelling, and/or anything else that can be a barrier. Just start. Take notes and watch your notes turn into chapters.
Melissa: How much success have you had marketing and promoting your book? And where can we find it to purchase?
Al: I am a doctoral student, father of 3, and I have several jobs and hobbies. We have not done a lot of marketing due to time constraints, but it is doing very well so far on Amazon. It is available in paperback and Amazon Kindle format currently, and we are looking to expand our market once we have some additional time.
Before we close, is there anything specific you want to tell our readers? Maybe share your website or social media pages?
Al: The more that we write and offer the world, the larger our legacy will be. God bless, and thank you for all of the support for me and my daughter, Lourraine.
Melissa: Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you and learn more about your books.