Intimate Conversations Interview author Coco LaBon
Coco LaBon grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas surrounded by family and various pets. As the youngest of five children, she started writing around the age of eight, and over the years she developed a collection of personal poems, short stories, and other creative works. After many years, she finally realized her dream of publishing a book.
She hopes that children everywhere will enjoy reading this adventure story. She is a great lover of animals and hopes to write more stories in the near future. One of her ultimate dreams is to make a movie out of one of her stories. Of course, she loves everything chocolate!
Ms. LaBon has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also has a Professional Certificate in 3-D Animation from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Currently, Ms. LaBon lives and works in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Ella: Tell us about your passion for writing.
Writing is probably my first love. I love all types of writing and I have written poetry and prose, haiku, sitcom scripts, full-length movie scripts and the beginnings of a novel. I also have a day job where I do some technical writing and design of marketing materials. As far as I am concerned, any kind of writing is fun for me.
My book offers children the chance to fantasize and to go on a wonderful journey to find the Chocolate River. I think it also gives them inspiration to be creative, and teaches them about the love of family and friends.
Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because... I am a strong-minded, intelligent and creative woman. I have learned to make decisions for myself, and to live with those decisions. I have been supporting myself for over 20 years and it has not been easy. However, I have definitely learned a lot about mortgage contracts and dealing with contractors, doing my taxes, running a small business, and dealing with difficult work situations and personalities. My personal power comes from learning how to get back up after I fail at something. The ability to get up and to move forward is the key.
Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I am originally from Little Rock, Arkansas and I began writing when I was about eight years old. I guess I was always carrying around stories in my mind; I was very imaginative and creative. Writing allowed me to create a world of my own. I always loved animals and had a special connection with them. Through writing, I could give my animal characters a voice and a purpose, and that was satisfying.
Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
If you are a chocolate lover like me, then you have to get the book. I wrote the book with chocolate lovers in mind and developed a story around it.
This is also an adventure story that takes children on a journey and opens their mind to fantasy and possibilities.
Although it encourages children to follow their dreams, it also teaches them several lessons like: obeying their parents, not wandering too far from home, and that family is important.
Ella: What advice would you give a new writer about the industry?
The advice I would give new writers is to be prepared to do a lot of marketing for your book. There are so many books in the marketplace that the competition is very stiff. You also have to be very web-savvy. Do your research; learn the power of Internet marketing techniques and social marketing websites and tools.
As far as my journey; I entered the market as a self-published writer. I would prefer to sign on with a mainstream publisher for my next book. I think it would be very helpful to have that team of professionals behind me, and also to have the advantage of being paid up front for my manuscript. There is also more legitimacy behind the major publishers and they are much more widely accepted by the retail bookstores.
Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
Expect “The Legend of the Chocolate River” movie! My ultimate goal is to see my book come alive in the form of an animated movie on the big screen. I was a radio, television and film production major, and I also have a professional certificate in 3-D animation. I know what is required to make a movie and I look forward to getting the opportunity to write, produce and direct my animated film soon.
One of the issues I have with modern animated movies is that movies are no longer made for children, they are made for adults with adult themes. Although they are entertaining, I think there should be a return to movies made for children and more from the perspective of a child.
Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
I will be participating in the “John O. Peterson Library Read-In” at my church, Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA, on February 8, 2009 from 1pm - 3pm. As a volunteer “reader,” I will be reading some books to a group of 18 months – 3-year-old children. I will also be giving away a “Chocolate River” themed basket as one of the door prizes for the two-hour event, and will have some books on hand to autograph and sell. The event will showcase several African American authors who are also members of Alfred Street Baptist Church.
Also, during the month of February, I am joining with a group of African American authors to do a fundraiser called “Books by Us.” This is a project spearheaded by Uncle E of W3 Publishing and will involve several schools in Prince Georges County, MD. Similar to the Scholastic catalog fundraiser, Books by Us will feature African American authors from the Washington, DC metropolitan area and students will go around selling our books from the catalog. I am very excited about this endeavor because it is the first of its kind of which we are aware.
I will have some other events coming up which I will announce on my website (www.cocolabon.com), or via press releases once the details are finalized.
Please join in the discussion by leaving comments or congrats below.
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