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Interview with Kamapala Chukwuka

She is a wife and mum of 3 boys, an author, and a creative digital marketing agency founder. She writes diverse children's books with a strong focus on black character leads. She writes these books to inspire little black/brown boys and girls to love themselves and be confident in who they are. 

She feels representation in children's literature is very important as it offers ALL children variety in what they read and promotes acceptance of others. Her hobbies are spending quality time with her family, hosting friends, writing, and being outdoors.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I do love a good tearjerker - a movie or book would get me any day.

Q.2 When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?
My recent book Kind Obi centered around moral values. I have written about love, confidence, kindness, and gratitude.

Q.3 What made you write Ama’s Gift?
I am a certified life coach, and one of the most common issues I find that people have is the fear of doing something because of what others would think. And I know this to be true for both adults and kids. So I wrote Ama’s Gift to encourage kids and adults to share their gifts confidently and without being afraid of what others think.

Q.4 What actually goes on when the author and illustrator meet?
Magic, lol. No, seriously, I think this is the most essential part of publishing a children’s book because this is where the story comes to life. So for me working with my illustrator is serious business. We put on our creative hats, and magic happens.

Q.5 What do you love most about writing stories for children?
Writing stories for children, for me personally, is about making a difference. I write diverse books primarily centered around black characters, so knowing that I am adding variety to kids' life makes me happy, and I love it!

Q.6 Why do you think it is vital for children to develop a love for reading?
Reading breeds creativity, helps with brain development, empowers kids, and gives them the confidence they need to go out into the world and make their dreams a reality

Q.7 What’s your writing schedule while you’re working?
I write on a whim. Notebooks are literally all around our home. Because being a mum and businesswoman means there’s no such thing as spare time. Lots of late nights, too, do the trick.

Q.8 Many writers describe themselves as “character” or “plot” writers. Which are you? What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing?
Honestly, I’m not even sure which one I am. I just go with the flow. Think of a story idea, do some research and just bring the idea to life.

Q.9 Which children’s book most inspired you as a child?
A. Unoma
by Teresa Meniru is about a girl called Unoma who had to overcome the obstacle of proving to her family and community that education was not being wasted on a girl.

Q.10 How do you select the name of your characters?
My characters’ names are culturally centered. So mainly African names to educate and promote cultural diversity

Q.11 Do you have any advice for aspiring children’s book authors?
They say there’s a book inside each of us, but only a few will ever get to publish or bring their books to life - be one of them. Writing children’s books is a great privilege because you inspire and shape future generations. 

So do what you must to make sure that you don’t let your dream die. Publish that book(s). Then help another aspiring author publish theirs because there’s enough room for us all.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
I don’t just believe I live it daily. It’s no easy feat coming up with words. I deal with it by setting it aside for a bit and doing some research.

Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do. I love getting feedback from readers for encouragement and for improvement.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I wish I could say I do, but unfortunately, I don’t. I’m not yet that far into my writing career, but I bet if you ask me this after my 10th book, I might have a different answer then.

Q.15 Outside of your family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author?
My mum's squad! Love the community support from them. They cheer me on so much.

Q.16 How will you describe your life before and after getting published?
Before being a published author, I was a mum, and afterward, I’m still a mum but one on a mission to make a difference with my books

Q.17 What three things should readers expect from your books?
 An excellent story plot, beautiful illustrations, and a moral lesson.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
Ah, this question that I never seem to have an answer for. Hmm, unfortunately, I still don’t have an answer, sigh.

Q.19 What is your favorite book (apart from children's ones) and why?
I do love self-help books. They helped me so much in my personal self-development journey.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
Being a published author has been an absolute joy so far. I’ve only started, but I plan to do much more. Hopefully, I will get the chance to come back and update you in the future on how things are going.

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