Have you heard of the author Candice Jones?
Welcome to my interview with the incredible Candice Jones! We’ll talk about her book and all the awesome victories of her journey.
Hi Candice! Please introduce yourself and share five fun facts!
Hi, my name is Candice Jones. I am Caribbean Canadian. My parents were born in Trinidad and I was born in Montreal Quebec, Canada. I am a creative (music and art) that loves to travel and learn new things!
- I am a twin.
- Recently started loving the colour pink, that old rusty coloured pink.
- My favourite dessert is a Tiramisu tart specifically from Paris Baguette in South Korea!
- I had locs for almost 10 years then shaved my head 1 year ago!
- I want to learn how to sail a boat and sail around the Caribbean!
What can you tell us about your book Where Are You From?
My book is about multiculturalism in Canada from the perspective of a Caribbean Canadian girl. It’s a story about diversity and how it should be looked at as a strength in this nation and not a weakness. It’s a story about making friends with people that look different than you do and acknowledging the differences in appearances and learning to be okay and accepting of those differences.
What similarities are there between you and your main character?
There are soooooo many similarities! Tolu, the main character, has earrings similar to mine. They are the shape of the island of Trinidad. She is Caribbean Canadian like me! Tolu has a beauty mark near her eyebrow, just like me! She is curious and loves to travel and learn about different people and their cultures just like I do. Also, we play the same instruments (Saxophone and steel pan). Although, I am currently learning how to play guitar!
What are the differences?
Tolu has locs. I do not have locs anymore, I cut mine last year. Tolu is a child in Kindergarten who may be extroverted. I am not extroverted and unfortunately not a child anymore hahaha! I am an introvert, through and through. Honestly, I think of Tolu as my future child or my animated child in a way. She has the characteristics that I hope a child of mine will have one day. She is outgoing, makes friends easily, and isn’t afraid to ask people questions.
What have been the biggest challenges that came from self-publishing?
The biggest challenge was cost and making sure my project manager understood what I wanted for my story and to relay that to the illustrator, especially. I wanted to do my own illustrations but was told that I couldn’t and at that point. I probably should have said that I will look elsewhere and do my own research to get this story out, but I chose to stick with TellWell and the final product turned out well. All in all, I should have done more research before I started, but I am happy with the final result.
What were the greatest victories?
Just seeing that I was able to start with an idea, and begin a project, and actually finish it! It’s the very first project that doesn’t have to do with music that I mainly funded with help from friends and family. A project total strangers really like! It’s the first product that I have ever been able to make and give out to people and it makes me feel quite happy. As a musician, I have yet to make an album or put out a single, but one day, I hope to do so. I believe this book project has helped me to believe in myself a bit more.
What have your travels taught you that you’ve applied to your writing?
My travels have taught me that deep down we are all the same. People all over the world desire love, want acceptance, are hurting, and want to be happy. We all may go about achieving those things in different ways, but the end goal remains the same. I introduced some of the countries I have visited in my book and every character in my book is actually influenced by someone I know personally.
How have you built your own community of readers as a self-publisher?
I haven’t really yet, but I am working on it!
What is your favourite thing about your book?
Can I pick more than one? Hahaha one of my favourite lines from my book: “…Toco is where the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean shake hands…”
The illustrations turned out really well and the activities in the back I really love!
What do you hope readers gain from the experience of reading your book?
I hope they gain a sense of belonging in this country when they read my book. Also, I hope they learn to be accepting of other people that look different than them. I hope my readers will be super excited about the activities they get to do at the end of the book. I hope they learn some new things about all the places mentioned in my book and learn some things about themselves as well.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have always wanted to write a book one day, but didn’t have any idea about it really until 2017. I met a Nigerian woman in South Korea named Tolu and when I returned to Canada I remember drawing a character and naming her Tolu. Just LOVED the name. Two years would pass before I actually start to write out the story and then design what each character would look like.
I was inspired to finally write the story when I remembered one of my favourite YouTubers (Beleaf in Fatherhood) decided to write a book and I thought, if he can do it, so can I. I was going through a very difficult time in 2018 and creating things when I am feeling down is something I do to help myself heal. So, I started drawing again and the story just came out.
Going forward, what do you hope to gain from your writing career?
I hope that other creatives would want to work alongside me to find creative ways to get different stories out. Especially hyphenated Canadian stories like mine, or yours! I also hope to gain more belief in myself and that others will believe in me too.
Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Yes! Believe in yourself. YOU have a story. It is unique to you and although, unique, it WILL be relatable to someone else. Write your ideas down (even if you don’t think you are a writer. I sure didn’t and still don’t!) or send a voice memo to yourself with the ideas you have!
Any final thoughts you want to share about your book or yourself?
The book: One thing I really want my readers to know about my book is that representation matters. Kids need to see themselves in the books they read. Canada is a multicultural nation and it’s time for young Canadian readers to see that in the books they bring home from school. Canadian book stores and libraries need more diversity in their catalogues of books in terms of culture, ethnicity, language etc.
Me: Sometimes the best ideas you have come to you when you are in the bathroom! I don’t know what it is about the bathroom but, for me, the shower is my place of ideas! They just rush at me like a waterfall and maybe it has to do with being in a place where I am completely vulnerable and at peace and I can be just me.
Thank you so much Candice Jones! I hope you continue to write books and create music. Your message is strong and should be reinforced every day. Keep in touch with Candice on her Personal and Book Instagram, Psalmwaves Website, and Facebook (Dear.Tolu).
Do you want to take part in your OWN author interview? Contact me through my website form or hit me up on social media.
Thanks for reading about Candice Jones. Join me next time for fun blog posts! What did you think of the interview? Please comment below.
Are you looking for someone to create beautifully crafted content for you? Hire my talents: Hire Kirsten!