Welcome to the 2023 ARIA Author Showcase and Giveaway Event!
How to enter – Comment on the daily showcases to enter the daily giveaway. Comments close one week after the initial Showcase post. GRAND PRIZE drawn on Dec 8th (1 -$250, 1 -$100, or a 1 -$50 Amazon gift card. One grand prize pp) – For every showcase you post on, you automatically gain one entry to the grand prize. 30 Authors = 30 entries.
On to the Showcase!
What name do you like to write under? Brittney C. Dias
Where do you call home? Brooklyn, NY
What genre(s) do you write? Children's Fiction, Poetry
What genre(s) were you drawn to when you were younger Was there a reason that genre(s) appealed to you the most? As a kid and teen, I was drawn to a lot of historical fiction, coming of age fiction, and dystopian novels. It's no surprise that now as an adult, I've dedicated a lot of my professional and personal life advocating for social rights.
What were some of your favorite books growing up? Why? I LOVED The Hunger Games series. I remember spending all of my 7th grade holiday break reading it. I was also a big fan of John Greene cause I'm a sucker for a good coming of age love story with a little bit of tragedy. I think my top favorite book as kid was Stones in Water by Donna Jo Napoli. It's about two Italian boys who are friends growing up in the midst of WWII. Historical fictions, to me, humanize the stories we learn about and give us the insight to learn from history and not repeat it.
What are some of your favorite books today? I recently read the book Kindred by Octavia Butler. It's like a mix between syfy and historical fiction. I also like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
What inspired you to become a writer? Since I was a kid I've written poetry, prose, and short stories. It's how I express my emotions. I've always enjoyed creating something from my emotions and experiences. My mom is also a poet so I think I get it from her. What led me to write and publish children's fiction in particular was a need I saw. Growing up, I never saw picture book of other Black girls so I decided to change that. In many ways, writing for young children is a way for me to connect with my inner child and provide the kids today with what I needed growing up.
Ava & Mae: The Fabulous Fashion Show
Ava & Mae are two sisters who believe they can do anything they set their minds to. Learn with Ava & Mae as they land business deals, negotiate, and make their dreams come true.
Tell us a little about how “Ava & Mae: The Fabulous Fashion Show” came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else? I was a junior in college when the pandemic hit. Due to the racial reckoning of 2020, I exercised my passion for social justice and Black liberation in a bigger way. While participating in social activism, I thought of the importance of ownership and its relationship to freedom. In the United States, ownership is essential to autonomy and liberty but is systematically kept from Black Americans. After joining a startup's DE&I team, I researched the challenges that Black entrepreneurs face. As a student of Public Health and a Child Development researcher, I focused on the barriers that exist for Black children. What if we shifted our focus to encouraging entrepreneurship among children? This could increase the younger generation's interest in and enthusiasm for business ownership, ultimately leading to a shift in Black wealth. I pitched a the Ava & Mae series, a children's book series that features Black children who own businesses and develop entrepreneurial skills. What began as a college project in 2021, has grown into a multimedia brand with a reach of over 500,000 globally that offers a lens for kids to develop their potential and identity.
Which scene, character or plotline changed the most from first draft to published book? I would say in the first book "Ava & Mae own a Lemonade Stand," I worked closely with my editor to add some more conflict throughout the book. This made the story a bit more dynamic than it was in the first draft.
Which character was the most challenging to create. Why? I would say Zuri. You meet her in the second book "Ava & Mae: The Fabulous Fashion Show." It's difficult, as a children's author to capture the nuances of each character within 32 pages. Sometimes it's hard to encompass all of one characters identity and self with the brevity you need in children's picture book writing. I have complete story arcs of each of these characters that readers will never see. And each character's life story has to come out in the way they show up for the 3-4 lines they get in each book.
What do you like best about being a writer? I love creating characters. It's awesome. You literally make a whole entity that other people will read about and connect to and form emotional relationships with. It's a crazy experience. I know Ava & Mae as characters mean a lot to my readers and it's an honor to be able got create that space for them.
If you could collaborate with any author, past or present, who would it be? What would the title of the book be? (If possible) - Give us a one-sentence blurb. I would work with Maya Angelou to create a poetic-esque picture book about a girl who sets a caged bird free.
You can follow Brittney C. Dias here -
Brittney is giving away a paperback copy of her book – Ava and Mae: The Fabulous Fashion Show. To enter comment below --> If you can have an adventure with anyone real or fictional who would it be? What adventure would you embark upon?
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