Interview with the author of My Birthday Is September Eleven: Nicole Weaver. Thank you for the interview.
1) Tell us who you are.
My name is Nicole Weaver. I am Haitian American. I am fluent in four languages-French, English, Spanish and Creole. I am a veteran French and Spanish high school teacher. I am also a published author of a trilingual book titled: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle/ María y su Amiga la Tortuga Del Mar/ Marie et son Amie la Tortue de mer. I have a second trilingual book titled My Sister is My Best Friend due to be published fall 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing. My third trilingual book titled: My Brother is My Best Friend is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.
2) What influenced you to become a writer?
I first became interested in writing after winning a poetry contest. That experience fueled my interest in writing. I later joined my church’s writing group. Being a part of the group allowed me to venture out with my writing. I have pieces published in my church’s journal. Next, an author friend talked me into attending a writer’s workshop. The workshop peaked my interest even more. I later decided to write my first trilingual children’s picture book.
3) Why do you think you chose to write for children?
I see a huge need for more books that portray children of color in a positive light. I also see a need for more books that encourage the learning of a foreign language. I write all of my children’s picture books as trilingual books because a child’s brain is wired to learn language when he or she is young.
4) You mentioned that many of the stories from My Birthday is September Eleven are true. Are all your stories/books based on true events? Where else do you get your inspiration?
Yes, most of my stories/books are based on true events. Having been an educator for the past twenty five years affords me many opportunities to see and experience many things. Many times I am emotionally moved by these experiences and I must find a way to channel the emotions into a positive way and writing provides me with that outlet. For instance, around ten years ago, I received a call from a woman who adopted a Haitian little girl. The little girl only spoke Creole; she wanted me to help her communicate with her in Creole. I was very honored and blessed to help her. I later learned that the little girl was dropped off at the local adoption agency in Port-au-Prince Haiti, because her mom could not feed her.
I carried that information in my heart and I always wanted to write a story about it. This is where the idea for the story “No More Hunger” came from. Imagine the pain that mother experienced when she dropped her daughter off. I hope my story will bring attention to what goes on in my native land of Haiti.
I also get inspired by what I see in my classroom. I taught middle school for fifteen years. During my tenure as a middle school teacher I observed how cruel students can be towards one another. It pained me greatly to witness the way many bi-racial children were constantly teased and picked on. The short story “Zebra Boy” is based on what I saw happening to those children. Honestly, it would take me two lifetimes to write about all the things I have seen and experienced as a classroom teacher.
5) What would you have liked to have been told as a budding writer?
It would have been nice to know how difficult it is to market yourself. Getting published is only the first step; the real work begins with marketing yourself and your book.
6) Can you tell us something that your readers may not have guessed about you?
I love being an American citizen. My life changed for the better when I set foot in America. I believe the only way to beat bigotry is through education. Through hard work and dedication one can achieve great things.
7) Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
Never give up on your dreams. When I first came to America, after reading many books from the Curious George series, I instantly knew that I would one day write my own picture book. I also invite all readers interested in learning more about me can visit my sites:
My Sister Is My Best Friend Blog:
Marie and her Friend the Sea Turtle Blog: