Clarice Williams whose pen name is C. JoVan Williams, was born and raised in Chicago, IL, but now resides in New Jersey as an Air Force spouse, with a blended family of six. She credits her writing inspirations from her experiences as a military spouse, mother, college graduate, Government worker, silly daughter, and an overbearing older sister to many. She also writes for Military Spouse Magazine. Her books are available on Amazon. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie: Hello Clarice! Congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion. Please tell me about your book, Veggie’s Bully.
Clarice: Thank you! It’s the second book in my Chef ReCee Jay & Friends book series. This story is different from other bully books where everyone is shaking hands and becoming friends in the end. Veggie’s Bully children’s book shows the anger Veggie feels about being bullied, her friend who wants revenge, and the voice of reasoning who helps them see her situation a bit differently. For some events, I also sell Uncle Bear and Carb Monkey plush toys along with the book. I’m still searching for a vendor to help me with Veggie Bunnie.
Stephanie: I really admire the premise of your story and find it inspirational to many. You touch on a subject that is a serious problem in our world. When did you decide to write your book and to use the idea of animals for your characters?
Clarice: There were a series of stories that popped in mind when I began this series and I knew since the beginning I was going to touch on bullying. It’s not just happening in a children’s playground or a high school anymore. Social media has made bullying easier than ever, even in our adult lives, it continues to occur. So, it’s my hope that, whoever picks up this book, will remember to value how they feel about themselves, versus obsessing about how others think of them. I’ve seen children gravitate towards animal stories and wanted to reach as many readers as I possibly could.
Stephanie: Have you written other children’s books with important themes and morals?
Clarice: My first book, Our Picnic Surprise, talks about trying to balance life and really hits home with me, because I’m still trying to balance it! But the story focuses on Veggie Bunnie introducing healthier foods to Carb Monkey and Chef ReCee’s already sugar filled lifestyle! The third book in the series talks about another character in the series, Uncle Bear, who received a gift, but does not have any money to reciprocate his appreciation. So his friends help him make something for his mystery Valentine. I hope some readers can relate to having to be resourceful when you can’t afford to buy presents for everyone you would like too.
Stephanie: How do you promote your book and what are some of the ways you discuss your book to others? Such as, do you visit schools, libraries, bookstores and so forth?
Clarice: Currently, I’m in a few indie and professionally published author groups who travel and promote books at various fairs, bookstores, and libraries. Right now I’m putting myself out there to visit schools, whether it is in person or on Skype in the classroom, I’m available! So put it out there!
Stephanie: Have you had any reviews on your book? What are some of the positive things people have said about your book?
Clarice: I’ve gotten great feedback in person and from reviewers on Amazon. After winning the BRAG Medallion, the company sent me a letter with multiple reviews from a classroom who read the book, and it was very humbling. There were comments about what the story meant to them and also what they are currently dealing with now.
Stephanie: What book project is up next for you?
Clarice: I have a few in the works now. The next one in the series will be about Carb Monkey on a search to find the Tooth Fairy! There is an unexpected twist at the end about the mystery and magic behind the Tooth Fairy. I also have another children’s book, titled What IF…that is coming out and Miley Cyrus was my inspiration. It deals with questions my daughters had after witnessing a few things that has been popular on social media lately.
Stephanie: Will you self-publish again?
Clarice: Yes! It’s not for the faint of heart though!
Stephanie: What advice would you give to a writer who wants to write a children’s book?
Clarice: Join author/writer groups. Use the internet as you would an all-night open library. Read the kinds of books that you would like to publish. Read the author’s bios too. Look at their editors, publishing companies, and agents to get an idea of how they built their platform. Create a plan for yourself. Learn to accept criticism and apply it. I’d like to bring up something, Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU, said, When looking at trends I always ask myself basic and timeless questions about business, and the one I seem to always come back to is, ‘How is this different than anything else in the marketplace?‘
When I came up with Veggie’s Bully, I didn’t want to tell a story of how they all became friends at the end, because life doesn’t always happen that way. I wanted to talk about what to do when the Bully keeps teasing you and all you have left to figure things out is just you.
Stephanie: Before I forget. Does your book have illustrations and who was your cover artist?
Clarice: Jen Chappell is an amazing illustrator, who did the art for Veggie’s Bully, Uncle Bear’s Mystery Valentine, and also does my comics for my website and Facebook fanpage. She helped me out when the illustrator of Our Picnic Surprise could no longer illustrate for me. Her professional email is JenniferMChappell@gmail.com.
Clarice, thank you so much for chatting with me today. I have one more question. How did you discover indieBRAG?
Clarice: I’m always looking at other self-published children’s books that are doing well and stumbled upon ‘Bellyache: A Delicious Tale’ by Crystal Marcos with the BRAG Medallion on it. I was truly honored to receive the recognition from BRAG, especially after reading this book by Crystal Marcos. I appreciate what BRAG does for indie authors!
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“This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed and I recommend it to anyone
who has small children. The bully situation has always been and always will be,
and having a book like this one will surely help children love themselves more
and have more confidence in what they do. And I can’t leave out the
illustrations; they are awesome and wonderful and fit so well with the story.
The vivid colors and adorable people will capture your children’s hearts and
keep them choosing this book over and over.” – Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for
A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Clarice Williams, who is the author of, Veggie’s Bully, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Veggie’s Bully, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.