In the September 2019 #215 issue of Writers’ Forum, I talk to author and editor, Jasmine Richards, about diverse books and why she set up STORYMIX a new children’s book packager for series fiction.
She explained that although her first novel, The Book of Wonders, was written in 2010 she had the idea when she was nine years old. Her inspiration was 1001 Arabian Nights and other stories she had read as a child. Jasmine has also written under the pseudonyms, J D Sharpe, Adam Blade and Rosie Banks.
Here is a video showing what Jasmine’s books are about.
As an author she noticed a recurring theme in her fan mail. the readers and their parents often expressed how much they enjoyed reading about the diverse character backgrounds in her stories.
This and the desire to see more contemporary characters that looked like herself having adventures, were two important factors that motivated Jasmine to set up a children’s fiction production company that focuses on diverse characters and inclusive representation.
“It is one of the key ambitions of of STORYMIX that our writers and illustrators will also go on to secure their own publishing deals and thus meaningfully change the make-up of the publishing landscape.”
When asked what makes a diverse book Jasmine sent me this quote from Tananarive Due to explain:
She told me:
“Many people perceive that books that are representative need to have a serious message or deal with serious issues. Of course, those issue books are important but they are only a part of the story. Young people from all backgrounds have the right to see themselves in all kind of stories – mystery stories, horror stories, sci-fi stories…”
She explained that a recent study from CLPE (Centre of Literacy in Primary Education) has shown of the 9,115 children’s titles published in 2017 only 4% featured black, Asian and minority ethnic characters.
STORYMIX are always looking for writers and illustrators to work with. You can find out more about STORYMIX and the books they develop here: www.storymix.co.uk
You can find out more about Jasmine Richards and her books on her website: www.jasminerichards.com
Read the full interview in the #215 Sep 2019 issue of Writers Forum, which is available in shops now.