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Born in Georgia, Annette Smith a.k.a Annie Books is an author of fictitious and realistic books for children ages 0-12. She introduces herself as “the wife of a jack of all trades, the mother of two young adults, and the grandmother of a beautiful and bright nine-year-old girl”. “My granddoll Melody Rayne is now my latest and greatest inspiration for my stories”, she adds.

In the mix of learning how to be a writer and getting published, Annie experimented with various occupations: Cashier, Massage Therapist, File Clerk, Computer Operator, and worked from home as a Virtual Sales Agent… but her favourite thing to do now is writing for children. “I do my best writing at home when there is total silence. However, when I am out and about and my surroundings gives me an idea for a story, no matter what paper is around, I quickly jot it down. I completed a book called “Nyrah’s Bully” which is one of twelve while sitting in a doctor’s office for two hours. Yes, I still write my stories on paper, before typing them up”, shares with us. Her mission? Be our children’s favourite books to pick up and read. “I want my stories to inspire your children to become creative and allow their imaginations to run as far it will take them”.

The writer took a writing course with The Institute of Children’s Literature, although she feels her best qualifications come from her readership as a child in elementary school and raising two boys. “Watching their growths and incidents, gave me many ideas for stories. Also, I began caring for other children at the age of fourteen and still care for other children now”, she says.

In this series of interviews, Zaftyg will share with you the real stories and the people behind the words of talented artists.

Read more.

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What are you currently working on?

Recently my granddoll and I were in Target looking for a “Baby Alive” doll. We saw one that was Caucasian and one brownish to dark tone. Nothing that fit her skin tone. She chose one doll, I chose another. doll. I wasn’t buying two. I shared this dilemma with a friend of mine, and she went online and found the perfect “Baby Alive” doll that fit both worlds! Again, another skin tone situation. Weeks later I was out and about with my husband and brother and a title suddenly popped in my head. “Two Colors of Me!” I am currently building a story around this title due to the doll situation. 

I am also working on a patent pending toy koala bear named ‘Kobe’, that will be able to record stories, songs or special messages, so kids can also enjoy a bedtime story, told by their favorite cuddle toy, using a real voice, when Mom and Dad need a break.  This will be a wonderful way to connect with a child at bedtime-even if the parent isn’t there.  After that I will be bringing another new approach to bedtime stories-and give a new generation of children (and parents) the gift of something exciting. I plan to do this by printing my self-published books onto bed sheets; turning children’s beds into one big book! This too is patent pending.  

Finally, I had masks made for one of two of my most recently released books that were poetically written to get children to wear masks, and I made stuffed monkeys that wear a mask and braces to help children smile who also wear braces. The monkey will be bundled with my second newest released book! I hope to approach orthodontists around the world and have the monkey as their office mascot!

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What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m such an introvert. Lying around being totally lazy is my cup of tea! In addition to that, I love spending time with my granddoll when she visits and dancing.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

My first inspiration to become an author was from the seed planted by my mother who used to write my siblings and I letters when we were young.  Then that seed was fertilized by my two now grown boys. When the oldest boy was around four years old, he had an incident where a Caucasian child was going to color his face black during an art session. My son was very literal at the time, and told his friend he wasn’t black he was brown. The Caucasian child was talking about his race, I’m sure, but my son didn’t know that. This upset him so much. This incident stuck with me for years. I started seeing more and more situations about children being bullied because of their skin, so I decided to write my story to help other children. I used the multicultural crayons made by ‘Crayola,’ to solve his dilemma. From there came several more stories of which twelve have been self-published so far.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book at the age of 25

Where do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas from my children, my granddoll, friends family and my surroundings.

What is your writing process like?

I really don’t have a particular process. I am old school at heart. I love writing my story down on paper first with the old school #2 pencil, then I type it out on the computer. I walk away from it for awhile, then go back to it to see if the story changes, which majority of the time it does.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

I never considered writing under a pseudonym, but using my maiden name as a pen name keeps the memory of my dad alive. I had stopped writing for a long time. But when I lost my dad due to lack of monitoring while he was in ICU, I became deeply depressed. To bring myself out of it, I picked up the pencil again and began writing. It was then I decided to use my maiden name as a pen name.


What do you think makes a good story?

I write for children. Anything that a child can see him or herself in, can make a good story.

What difference do you see between a writer and an author?

A writer has many stories. They may pen stories that shapes into a manuscript, but never have it published. One becomes an author once that paperback or hardback book is in their hands and they visually see on the front cover “written by”… and their name is there.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

To help me stay focused in my writing space, I need total peace and quite. It can be during the day, if my family obligations are taken care of, but prefer at night. The whole world is quiet to me at that time. My creative juices flow without any interruptions.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing can energize me, if writers block doesn’t rear it’s ugly head. That’s when it becomes exhausting.

What’s your career’s highlight?

My career highlight is when I was nominated “Author of the Year” back in 2019. I didn’t bring home the actual award, but the nomination was a reward in itself.

Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?

No, I don’t play music while I write. I love peace and quiet so I can hear my thoughts.

What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I don’t have a schedule for writing. I’ve heard that most writers write on a daily basis. I don’t. I write when the mood hits me. Sometimes two and three stories will come out of one sitting, and at other times, it takes months just to write one story.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?

My kryptonite as a writer is “writer’s block.” I have what I call a mental filing cabinet filled with ideas and titles, but when writer’s block rears its head, it’s like someone stole my key to my mental filing cabinet and threw it away!

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

The most difficult part of my writing process is keeping my children’s stories from being so wordy. I just have so much to say! Once the pencil starts moving, I can’t stop writing. My bullying book is a seventeen minute read. That may be a bit wordy, but I got my point across within the story.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

I may be the only writer on earth that’s like this, but my plot and characters are developed at the same time. To me, they work hand in hand. There’s no one without the other during the writing process.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

I develop my plot and characters from my title. I’ve talked to many authors who are the total opposite.


How do you select the names of your characters?

I select the names of my characters by the people I’m surrounded by most of the time. As an example, one of my character’s name is MaeLee. The “Mae” is from a favorite aunt and Lee is my husband’s middle name, hence “MaeLee!”

Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?

Yes, it’s satisfying to know a friend or family member had an impact on my life so much so, that my characters are named after them. Another example; in my bullying book, the custodian in the story is my husband.


How did you come up with the title for your first book?

When my oldest son was around four years old, he had an incident where a Caucasian child was going to color his face black during an art session. My son was very literal at the time and told his friend he wasn’t black he was brown. The Caucasian child was talking about his race, I’m sure, but my son didn’t know that. This upset him so much. This incident stuck with me for years. I started seeing more and more situations about children being bullied because of their skin, so I decided to write my story to help other children. I used the multicultural crayons made by ‘Crayola,’ to solve his dilemma. From there came several more stories of which twelve have been self-published so far.

What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

The one thing that comes to mind is, not enabling self-published authors to get their books into stores, bookstores, and libraries. I wouldn’t call it “unethical” however I feel it’s unfair because there are some super talented, self-published writers, who deserves to have their stories read. 

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What are common traps for aspiring writers?

One common trap for aspiring writers is not knowing the differences in publishing houses. Traditional publishers, subsidy publishers, vanity publishers, hybrid publishers, self-and publishing–know the difference! Some are known to trap you!

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have three friends that truly helped me with my writing, that’s J. Hale Turner, Maxine Billings, and Margie Gosa Shivers. Although our genres are completely different, their words of encouragemnt, and their sheer love of my stories inspire me to be the best writer I can be!

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I have a children’s book called “Divorce Through the Eyes of a Child; Dear Mama and Dad”. At a book fair, a little boy picked up the book and began to read it. Tears flowed down his cheek. He saw himself in my story. It touched him. It was then that I learned, “language had power!”

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Younger writing self, thank you for having a love for reading. You may very well be that additional person who inspired me to write.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have at least eight or more unpublished and half-finished books.

If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?

Thank you!


How do you want to help moving humanity forward?

I want to help move humanity forward through the realistic stories that I write. If it starts within the child, then, I can say I definitely had a hand in moving humanity forward!

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