My good friend, Stephanie Jefferson, is beyond excited, as most writers are when their debut novel is about to come out, but this is an extra-special time in Stephanie’s life. You see, she had a close call with death in September. Her doctors tell her she’s lucky to be alive. It’s one of a writer’s fears, not living long enough to see the book they poured their heart and soul into become published.
That joyful day is fast approaching for Stephanie. In February, just in time for Black History Month, she’s launching her novel, PRINCESS KANDAKE – Warrior By Choice….Appointed to Rule.
Today I’d like to share with you the inspiration behind this awesome historical novel for Tweens.
and making the costume for the model
to wear paid off big time. Isn’t this an amazing cover?
Retired psychologist, full-time writer
are thankful our dear friend survived pneumonia,
followed by a major heart attack a few months ago.
just in time to do a week-long book tour in February to launch her baby!
It’s been quite a journey, the making of this book. It all started with a little girl asking her grandma a simple question. A simple question without a simple answer.
Here’s an excerpt from Stephanie’s blog post of November 20, 2011 that explains the inspiration behind PRINCESS KANDAKE (pronounced Kon-da-kay):
I have the most beautiful granddaughter on the planet. . . She loves to play dress-up. One day she came to me and said, “Nana, I want to be a princess, but they don’t look like me.” She was pointing at a Disney ad. “Where are all the beautiful brown princesses?”
That got me started. I was on the hunt. My daughter (her mother) and I started pointing out every princess of color we could find. We looked everywhere, at every book, poster, and magazine available and even some that weren’t.
It occurred to me that Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. were sitting on the bookshelves of every library and close at hand for anyone to pick up, anyone except my granddaughter. Being who I am, I couldn’t rest until I did something about it and I wanted a story that would not be time-sensitive and could even become a classic. (Why dream if you can’t dream large!) The research began.
I needed someone from history and the further back the better. I hit upon ancient Nubia. Learning of the power and far reaches of this ancient kingdom were perfect! I started with a picture book, but the tale outgrew that format. It is now a Tween novel filled with adventure, action, conflict, and a hint of romance.
This ancient kingdom is revived in Stephanie’s novel, thanks to her extensive research. I wasn’t familiar with Nubia until she read chapters of her work-in-progress to our critique group. Nubia is a very real place to me now. So are the characters, although Stephanie says they’re fictional, but I’m not so sure about that!
I’m fascinated by the years of research and rewrites that have gone into this work and the great lengths Stephanie went to for the cover design, which is a story in itself.
In next Wednesday’s post we’ll learn how Stephanie made an authentic-looking breastplate, a beautiful sarong, and some other cool facts about the making of the cover.
Have you ever heard of Nubia? Do you like historical novels?
(Friends, I’m dealing with some difficult issues right now, so if I don’t comment back right away, please know that I will as soon as possible.)