An interview with Shanelle Hicks, author of the illustrated children's book The Toothless Tooth Fairy.
For ages 3-9... Bella had it all. The hair, the dress, and the smile. One day, her most important asset was missing...her tooth! Will Bella find the perfect tooth in time for the contest? Will Zelda, the meanest of the fairies, destroy Bella's chances of winning the crown? Take a journey onto Cloud Nine as Bella searches for a new tooth only to discover the tooth...I mean truth...behind her true beauty.
Hi, Shanelle! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?
The Toothless Tooth Fairy is my first published book. My second children’s picture book called “Chickachaloo” will be out in 2015.
What got you into writing?
I believe I was born to write. I initially believed I was going to write poetry. I love soliloquies. I was then introduced to Langston Hughes’ poetry and fell in love. I’m such a fan that my husband and I named our daughter Langston.
I write because it’s my passion. I write because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I write kids books because I know kids want to read books with characters that look like them. I know I certainly did as a kid. I recall falling in love with bright illustrations, quirky characters, and intriguing text without being able to see myself in those books. I want to change that. This is a time for diversity in our kids books.
What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?
The Toothless Tooth Fairy came to me in a dream! I know it sounds so cliché, but it’s so true. I went to the dentist to have a molar pulled out and was so worried about what I was going to look like with a missing molar. My husband laughed at my paranoia as always. I had a dream about fairies chasing me with pliers because they were after my tooth for reasons unknown. One of the fairies in my dream told me it doesn't matter if they take your tooth because it doesn’t change who you are.
Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?
Most people automatically think that Bella is my favorite character when’s it’s actually Zelda. I love her transformation by the end of the book. I believe her character shows us what the power of kindness can really do. It’s a strong message that both children and adults can learn from.
What are your favorite children’s books?
Picking my favorite children’s books is so easy! I’m going to pick 3 in no particular order. Miss Nelson is Missing made me want to always obey my teachers in fear of one day meeting a real Viola Swamp. Next up is hands down The Witches by Roald Dahl. I’ve read this book a billion times and I still can’t get enough. I absolutely love the movie as well. Angelica Houston as The Grand High Witch is a scary thing. Last but not least is The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It explores atonement, original sin, temptation, and the order of nature. I hear they are coming out with a movie. I will be the first in line!
How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?
I absolutely don’t have a writing process. I always wing it! I think the initial focus is to put all thoughts on paper. They may not make sense. They may seem silly. They may seem irrelevant. They may be unorganized. I just get them from my head to paper and worry about the rest later!
What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?
I love children. I’ve worked with children forever. I love how their imaginations can transport them anywhere. I love their innocence.
Thanks for stopping by!
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