Photo: Courtesy of Arianna Brooks
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I hold a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management. Both experiences have informed my life and writing. As a debut children’s author and former third grade teacher, I’m mindful of the impact of positive language in development. In my books, I aim to cultivate joy.
My Mushy Matzah Ball is the premier book through my publishing company, Happiness Forward LLC. I came up with the name Happiness Forward as a mantra for life, writing and watching two children during a pandemic.
What inspired you to become a children’s book author?
I have always been interested in writing! I enjoy driving around Chicago with my kids and creating stories off of the top of my head!
When the pandemic began, the teacher in me kicked in. I established a daily routine and incorporated reading books aloud throughout the day. I read to my kids’ books that I had purchased online and quickly became frustrated. I found the plot and characters too heavy for children under 3. A lot of questions arose that I didn’t want to explain. I often thought, “why would anyone write that in a book for children?” Determined to put simplicity, love, and kindness back into children’s literature, I wrote My Mushy Matzah Ball.
Through conversations with friends of mine I became connected with my writing village and assembled a team. Once we were all working in concert together, I created a plan to launch My Mushy Matzah Ball.
Where and when do you write? Do you have a routine?
I stay home full-time with my two toddlers and they attend Jewish day school on weekday mornings. I have had a beautiful writing plan for the week and then unpredictable school closures or childhood fevers have thwarted my productivity. As a former teacher, I have a lot of experience pivoting my daily calendar. Even with professional training, the amount of scheduling changes during the pandemic have been personally trying.
That said, when everything aligns, I write at the kitchen table where I spread out with my notebook and laptop. I really enjoy this bright space and the flow of writing!
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Make a plan and set actionable steps. If you want to write children’s books, test out your books on kids. Have someone outside of your family, that loves you very much, edit your manuscript. If you go the self-publishing path, create a budget and try to stick to it. The most important advice that I can give is to move forward with your writing. If you wrote the most amazing manuscript and no one ever reads it, is it really that amazing?
Where can our readers purchase your book and how can our readers reach you?
To purchase My Mushy Matzah Ball in board book form: www.mymushymatzahball.com
My Mushy Matzah Ball is available in picture book form on Amazon https://amzn.to/3kHJKCF.
Follow My Mushy Matzah Ball on Instagram: @mymushymatzahball
And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mymushymatzahball/
Photos: Courtesy of Arianna Brooks