Welcome to our #WinterRead2021: Books Like Us Author Spotlight Series! We’re thrilled to be featuring 8 incredibly talented authors from our 2021 sponsor Simon & Schuster as a part of our 4th Annual Winter Reading Challenge. This week, we’ve interviewed Christina Hammonds Reed, author of the debut book and New York Times Bestseller “The Black Kids.” Check out our interview with her below, and learn more about her work here. Instagram: @christinahammondsreed
What are you currently reading?
Every Body Looking - Candice Iloh
Where is your favorite place to read?
Wherever I happen to be :)
What is your favorite thing you've written? Book or otherwise!
My sister and I used to come up with very silly little ditties growing up. My favorite remains one we wrote about wedgies.
What's your favorite book by someone other than yourself?
Too hard! I love so many different books for so many different moods, reasons, stages of my life. I feel like I fall in love every week, month, and year with new books and old favorites.
What is your favorite word and why?
For whatever random reason, I'm super delighted by the Spanish word "entonces" right now. It just means "then" or "so" and every time I hear it I'm like "yeah...entonces!"
What is the funniest typo you’ve written?
Around December I always struggle with my own name because Christmas is on the brain lol.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? And/or how did you become a writer?
As a kid I was nerdy and awkward and bullied quite a bit. I found so much solace in reading and getting lost in other worlds. It felt only natural that I'd find myself creating new worlds to get lost in. I remember writing into notebooks late at night with my flashlight because I was supposed to be in bed already and thinking this is what I want to do forever.
I feel like the act of becoming a writer is both an easy and complicated one. First things first, you write and you live and you read and study other writers. That's the easy part. For me, that involved studying storytelling in both undergrad and grad school and using that time to absorb as much as I could about what kind of storyteller I wanted to be. The really hard part was the years of sustaining myself emotionally and financially until I was the best writer I could be and other people recognized both the creative and financial value in my storytelling.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Know the value of the stories that only you can tell and don't let anybody dissuade you otherwise, however well-intentioned they may be. If I had listened to other people, I would've given up and gone into something more practical years ago. Instead, I'm finally living out my childhood dreams.
What is your favorite thing about winter?
The chill across your face while you sip on something that feels like home.
What does "Books Like Us" mean to you?
Stories that celebrate the value of everyone's lived experiences and explode the idea that only certain stories are worthy of being told.
Any additional information or fun facts?
Fun fact - everything I've ever written always connects to the water - either the ocean, or a pool, or both. I think it's because I spent my earlier years swimming competitively for hours every day, and so the water feels like home to me. I'm fairly convinced that I was a mermaid in a past life.
Stay tuned for future Simon & Schuster author spotlights as we gear up for #WinterRead2021, and encourage your community to keep reading!