Let's meet the author of, Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? A unique journey into the often forgotten contributions of the African-American inventors that have greatly enriched America’s landscape. It chronicles the day of a little boy, demonstrating with each page, how the genius of African American minds is utilized on a daily basis.
Q:If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A:I would encourage her to continue writing and to write often. I would also encourage her to read, read read!
Q:How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
A:Honestly it didn't. More than I'm a creative writer, or storyteller if you will, I'm a poet. That's why my book is written in free verse poetry. And I suppose that because I self-published, it allowed me to maintain all creative control over my work.
Q:What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
A:The best money I ever spent as a writer was on my illustrator. She was and is worth every dime!
Q:What does literary success look like to you?
A: Seeing my book being used as a teaching tool in countless numbers of schools across the nation and the world. Knowing that children, particularly black boys and girls, read my book and become inspired to exercise their maximum potential. Encouraging , inspiring and uplifting our young people is what success looks like to me. That was the goal and objective from the beginning of this journey and it remains as such.
Q:How do you select the names of your characters?
A:My character doesn't have a name, but if I gave it one, it would certainly be something African-centered.
Q:What is your favorite childhood book?
A: Oh that's a tough one.. it's a cross between "Nappy Hair" by Carolivia Herron, or "Why Heaven is So Far Away" and "What a Truly Cool World" both of which were written by Julius Lester
Q:What does "Representation" mean to you?
A:Everythang... I'm a firm believer of the idea that propaganda is the first weapon of war, and the way that we're represented in media, particularly our black boys/men, is discouraging and unnerving to say the least. That's why it was imperative to me that the character that I chose for my book was a little black boy, as my goal was to offer an alternative image, a positive image for them to see of themselves. Furthermore, even amongst black children's literature, black boys severely underrepresented. My desire is to change that, to offer positive representation. It makes my heart swell when I walk into a school and hear a little boy say excitedly, he looks like me!
Q:Where can our readers find your book(s)?
A:My website of course, hytait.com. It can also be found at some awesome black owned bookstores, The Listening Tree, Nubian Bookstore, Avant-Garde Bookstore, Royally Melanated, The Shrine of the Black Madonna and Alkebu Lan Images. Additionally, you can find the book on amazon.com, b&n.com, kobo.com and other online platforms. Lastly, if you're ever visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, The DuSable Museum, The Apex Museum, The Harvey Gantt Center or the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, check out their gift shops and you can find the book there as well!