1) Tell us a bit about who you are, and where you live and work.
I am a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and the middle child of three girls and I come from a long line of educators, so it felt only natural that I pursue a career in the field of education. I currently work with young people and mentor in Atlanta, Georgia.
2) Describe your journey to becoming an author.
My literary journey began very early in life. In fact, my mom, who also loved to write, encouraged my sisters and I to write when we were children because she didn’t always love the images or stories that were in print. So we began writing poetry and short stories as kids and then would perform our work for our parents. However, interestingly enough, I never thought I would publish any of my work until I wrote If Tomorrow Comes and I Am Gone. I thought I would be like my mom and just share my stories with my own children one day to inspire them. It wasn’t until I became a published author that I learned my mom always wished she had published some of her work as well. So in many ways I now feel this journey is for both of us.
3) What kinds of books do you write? Who is your ideal reader?
I write children’s books that are specifically designed to help strengthen families and children. However, although children are my target group, any reader who is seeking resources for dealing with challenges that families sometimes face from illness to new siblings are my ideal readers.
4) Where did you find your inspiration for If Tomorrow Comes and I am Gone?
I wanted to create a story that was multidimensional in nature; one that would be relatable among a variety of age groups and cultures. As in America, there is a woman in India who has been diagnosed with cancer, a father who is left to be the sole provider, grandparents who serve as surrogates in many cases. Loss, grief, disease. . .cancer transcends age, culture, and location. Tomorrow’s mission is to inspire, mend broken hearts, and provide encouragement to those who find themselves in these circumstances. The activities are an extension of the story. As an educator, I was very intentional to ensure readers were able to interact with the story; to ensure their takeaway was tangible and meaningful. The response has been overwhelming. Libraries have cataloged Tomorrow, centers that work with children and the grief process have expressed interest in using the book as a tool for their clients, parents have told me that they are using Tomorrow with their children to help them create memories of loved ones who have transitioned.
5) Why did you start The Ngambika Academy?
I am energized by young people and find their power of promise and potential infectious. My passion for our future leaders inspired me to develop The Ngambika Academy—a Kiswahili word meaning ‘help me carry the load’—to provide a ‘train the trainer’ model and curriculum for volunteers and mentors seeking to create ongoing leadership, service learning, and life skills training for young people. The Ngambika Academy is not an actual school, but is a replicable curriculum that allows others to design and develop their own academies within their schools and/or communities.
6) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your reading list right now?
There are so many authors that I have loved over the years for different reasons, but Dr. Maya Angelou, Don Miguel Ruiz, Iyanla Vanzant, and Margaret Wise Brown are just a few of my favorites. Unfortunately at the moment my schedule has been so hectic that the only thing on my reading list is my “to do list,” which continues to grow.
7) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to promote my work via an array of media outlets that include radio, television, newspapers and online magazines. All have each allowed me the opportunity to share my book with new audiences, so I would have to say that each has worked well for me.
8) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?
I am still seeking opportunities for national press in 2012 and continuing to do readings and signings. Additionally, I am currently working on three additional books.
9) What is your definition of success as an author?
I am sure each author has to defines success differently. For me it is being able to write stories that resonate with readers, that somehow help to enrich their experiences and allows each reader to be reminded that we are not alone.
10) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
I would advise aspiring authors to pursue their desires and dream out loud. Write stories that people want to read and be clear on your intent to publish.
To purchase Tomorrow, please visit one of the following vendors:
Barnes and Noble
Please click the links below to learn more about Jordan Trent and the evolution of Tomorrow:
Jordan Trent Talks w/Atlanta & Company
Jordan Trent Speaks w/Twanda Black