Annette Bentley Smith is a Georgia-born children’s book author of fictitious, realistic books for children ages 0-12. She’s the wife of a jack of all trades, the mother of two young adults, and the grandmother of a beautiful and bright little girl. Her grand doll Melody Rayne is now her latest and greatest inspiration for her stories.
In the mix of learning about how to be a writer and getting published, she experimented with various occupations: Cashier, Massage Therapist, File Clerk, Computer Operator, and working from home as a Virtual Sale Agent… But her favorite thing to do now is the one she’s doing writing for children. She does her best writing in her home when there is total silence. However, when she is out and about and her surroundings give her an idea for a story, no matter what paper is around, she quickly jots it down. She completed a book called “Nyrah’s Bully” (Publisher- AnneCorp Literary Works) which is one of ten while sitting in a doctor’s office for two hours.
Yes, she still writes her stories on paper, before typing them up. She feels closer to her stories that way. Annette loves writing her stories in a way that will educate, entertain and give children a temporary escape into a think outside of the box adventure. Her mission is for her stories to be your children’s favorite books to pick up and read. Annette’s books are aligned around a city-to-city strategy called “Get Hooked on Mrs. Annie’s Books” which centers on an exceptional reading experience. She is committed to continuously enhancing your child/children’s experience. She wants her stories to inspire your children to become creative and allow their imaginations to run as far it will take them.
She took a writing course with The Institute of Children’s Literature, but 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 her many ideas for stories. Also, she began caring for other children at the age of fourteen and still cares for other children now. Her books have received starred reviews on Amazon and social media sites. Authors such as J. Hale Turner and Maxine Billings, regard her as “an amazing writer.”
We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Annie.
Did you always want to become an author or were you ever interested in another profession?
Annette: My becoming an author was never my first interest, although the seed was planted by my mother. I wanted to be a model, and when I got taken for my money, my interest changed to being a teacher, but then life happened and after becoming as a Massage Therapist, Computer Operator, and having my first son, it was after an incident with him that I penned my first book, and decided to become an author.
How was your reading journey as a child? Did you enjoy it?
Annette: My reading journey as a child was splendid! I thoroughly enjoyed it. My teacher always called on me to read. I believe a seed was planted at that time too, and I didn’t know it. There’s something about holding a book in your hand and turning page after page, delving deeper and deeper into the story and its characters, almost finding yourself right in the heart of the story!
Why do you think it’s vital for adults to advocate for children’s reading interests?
Annette: It’s vital for adults to advocate for children’s reading interest because we all know reading is fundamental! We hear time and time again how reading “expands the mind.” In my mission statement, I tell my readers that I love writing so that children can escape into a “think outside the box” adventure. There is so much going on in the world today. Children need a positive distraction and I want to be that needed, positive distraction. I want my stories to be a child’s favorite book to pick up and read. I want to take their imagination as far as it will take them!
How do you balance family and career?
Annette: I balance family and career by splitting my time. I’m a nighthawk. Oftentimes, I do what’s needed during the night when the world and my home are quiet. I do my best thinking at night for some reason. My children are 22 and 32 years old. They are grown and don’t need Mama anymore; so they think! During the day after hubby goes to work, and there’s nothing to do, I will hop on the computer and get to work!
Who are some authors that inspired you?
Annette: There are two authors that inspired me, although their genre is completely different from mine and that’s J. Hale Turner and Maxine Billings. They are both wonderful writers. As for children’s books authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder is my all-time favorite, Chris Van Dusen, and many self-published children’s books authors.
For our parent readers, which of your books would you highly recommend for their children
Annette: For my parent readers, I highly recommend my bullying book called “Nyrahs Bully/friend.” Children will be able to identify a bully and recognize if they are a bully. Because of the times we are living in, I also recommend my book called “Milton Mask Saves the Earth!” A mask comes to life after hearing the bad news about the Corona Virus and decides to help.
What are you currently working on?
Annette: I am currently working on my thirteenth book called “TheTwo Colors of Me.” A little girl wants a doll the same color as she is. I am also creating a patent-pending stuffed koala bear named “Kobe” who will be able to read a story to you recorded by a narrator, not an animated voice. It will also be able to record stories, songs, or special messages to a child when a parent is tired or away. The third patent-pending project I’m working on, is printing my stories onto bedsheets! My goal is to bring a new approach to bedtime reading, build the love of reading, and create or strengthen the bond between a child and their parents.
What advice would you have for aspiring authors?
Annette: The advice I would give to aspiring authors is to never give up on your dream. It’s going to take time and effort on your part to bring your book to fruition. Believe in yourself and the story you’re writing. When that doorbell rings and you are handed a box with your books in it, you will then realize it was well worth all the sacrifice, blood, sweat, time, and tears you put into it.
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Multimedia Creative and Personality Tammy Reese is an award-winning Writer and Journalist. Writing and Directing short films on social issues to spread awareness through the arts gained Tammy the Makers: Women Who Make America Award honor on International Women's Day 2019. Tammy currently serves on the Communications Committee for New York Women In Film and Television. She is also the Founder and Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media.