Interview With Mathew Knowles, Ph.D, Author of “Racism From the Eyes of a Child”!

MNOWLESMathew Knowles, Ph.D, music mogul, professor, speaker, and author chatted with So Booking Cool about an array of topics including the parallels between music and book publishing, his thoughts on the digital age, being a writer, and his coined term “social courage,”  something he hopes readers will get out of his memoir Racism From the Eyes of a Child. He also dished on his first book, The DNA of Achievers: The 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals, in which he interviewed a number of accomplished individuals from various walks of life including the former L’Oréal President, Joseph Campinell, and Roy Willis, who made history by becoming the first African American graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia.

“I started thinking about me and my path, and my kids’ path to success. Passion is by far the number one trait…and what co-exists with passion is work ethic,” says the professor, who is among the Board of Directors of the Make A Wish Foundation. He later recalls the time he asked for mentorship when he first started working at the Xerox Corporation prior to accomplishing his goal of becoming a top sales executive at the company.

Mr. Knowles revealed that ten of his students at Texas Southern University co-wrote his upcoming book, The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music (6/1/18), now available for pre-order, and he’s currently penning Destiny’s Child: The Untold Story. Listen to the full interview to learn more about the Alabama native, including his childhood, racism, the three biggest misconceptions about him, and the book that he keeps in his office for motivation. For more information visit his official website.

Interview With Carrie Thornton, Editorial Director of Dey Street Books!

carriethorntonEven before amassing a 20-year career in book publishing, Carrie Thornton, editorial director at Dey Street Books (HarperCollins) had a fondness for editing. The English Language and Literature graduate was a literary magazine, newspaper, and peer editor at school. “I realized I was probably a better editor than writer,” Thornton says. A part of her job, she tells So Booking Cool, is paying attention to what is going on in the world. “We [editors] have to be real students of culture and what the reading public responds to.”

While Thornton works on a variety of titles, she specializes in high profile nonfiction, many of which have been bestsellers and critically-acclaimed including We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union; Kate Hudson‘s Pretty Happy and Pretty Fun; Amy Poehler‘s Yes Please; A New Model by Ashley Graham;  Every Little Step by Bobby Brown; Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman and the upcoming (and second) memoir-inspiration by Bobby BonesFail Until You Don’t: Fight Grind Repeat.

“I’m not interested when it comes to people who want to do books just because they’re famous,” Thornton says. “…The person has to have something to say or they have a story that needs to be told, and they have a great way of telling it. I respond to heart and soul, truth, and authenticity.”

Check out the full interview to learn more about editing, such as the different types of editing, how to effectively pitch as a publisher at book auctions, the art of self-generating projects, the importance of paying attention to the marketplace, and so much more!

Interview With Vice President, Exec Editor and Author Andrea Davis Pinkney!

Andrea-PinkneyphotoLargefileAs a children’s publishing professional and author, among Andrea Davis Pinkney‘s creative processes is directly conversing with that audience–children– about books.  “They tell me they like stories with heart,” she says. Heart, in fact, is definitely Pinkney’s approach to her craft. The Vice President, Executive Editor of Trade Books at Scholastic has worked in publishing for more than 30 years. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” Pinkney cheerfully remarks.

She is also a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author (the Coretta Scott King Award and A Poem for Peter, anyone?) and acquired the cult-favorite, The Cheetah Girls by Deborah Gregory, to name a few. Before building a thriving career as a book editor, Pinkney was a senior editor at Essence, in which she highlights the parallels of magazine and book publishing.

Check out our full interview with Pinkney to learn more about what she calls “beyond category,” how she hopes publishing will evolve, the mistakes she’s made as an editor, the importance of profit and loss statements, why authors and illustrators don’t interact in publishing, and more!

A Review: “Perfect is Boring” by Tyra Banks and Carolyn London

TYRAAPERFECT IS BORING: 10 THINGS MY CRAZY, FIERCE MAMA TAUGHT ME ABOUT BEAUTY, BOOTY, AND BEING A BOSS, Tyra Banks and Carolyn London. TarcherPerigee, $27.00 (320p) ISBN-13: 978-014313230
Publication date: April 3, 2018

Tyra Banks and her mother, Carolyn London, have created a resonant Girl’s girl (and guys, too, they don’t discriminate) self-help memoir in Perfect is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, And Being a Boss. The candid and humorous mother and daughter guide embodies the young female experience with topics from from menstruation, dating, sex, and career to (of course) beauty and body image. “I think that in the future, the most prized looks will be the flawsome ones (flaws + awesome ones), not the perfect ones,” Banks writes.

The model recalls the time she advised a fellow contestant on America’s Next Top Model to minimize her gap, a decision the executive regrets today. She also divulges her own share of criticism she’s faced throughout and even prior to her modeling career.

Surprisingly, Banks was a bully and was eventually bullied herself. Her mean-girl behavior and awkward stage were both short-lived, and helped inspire Banks to become an active supporter of other girls. Before launching her then talk show, Banks and London had a camp devoted to helping and empowering young women.

Perfect is Boring also reveals the supermodel’s self-described misguided attempt at a singing career (did you know she’s collaborated with Kobe Bryant and Pharrell Williams?) before realizing it was not her calling. Throughout the pages, Banks and London possess an entertaining and we’re-rooting-for-you way of dropping both wisdom and laugh-out-loud admissions, but the dynamic of the book that especially shines is the beautiful bond between mother and daughter.

Interview With Dr. Ashley Denmark, Author of “Olivia’s Doctor Adventures”!

DRDr. Ashley Denmark wrote and published her first book Olivia’s Doctor Adventuresillustrated by Mike Motz, to help introduce youth to medicine and hopefully inspire them to pursue a career in the field. Her own inspiration for the picture book is her 6-year-old daughter, Olivia. In fact, it was Olivia who suggested her mother write it in the first place.

In addition to being a mother (she has three children in total), wife, and student, Dr. Denmark is also the founder of the forthcoming initiative called, Project Diversify Medicine which already has a following of more than 7,000 people.

For more details about Olivia’s Doctor Adventures, the world of medicine, her recounting the time she was turned away from helping an ill patient on a Delta flight and how she’s since flipped the incident to a positive, as well as her advice for aspiring physicians, listen to the complete interview! Visit the official website for Olivia’s Doctor’s Adventures and check out the trailer below!

Every Day I’m Hustling by Vivica A. Fox Review

vivicaaa EVERY DAY I’M HUSTLING, Vivica A. Fox. St. Martin’s Press, $26.99 (288p) ISBN-13: 978-1250134455
Publication date: April 3, 2018

Actress, producer, television host, entrepreneur, and now author, Vivica A. Fox, has penned a riveting memoir-inspiration based on her various life experiences turned life lessons from on and off the screen. Themes of family, relationships, beauty and fashion, and ageism are discussed, and, yes, the book does address her relationship with Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent (as well as Celebrity Apprentice, which of course, comes with discussing President Trump and his family), but the most resounding aspect of the book is Fox’s overall sheer commitment to helping the reader.

She provides lists of tips and examples of how to be successful personally and professionally, without sounding preachy or arrogant, but instead projecting honesty and confidence. The book also manages to capture how personable she is—Fox will have you thinking she is a friend in your head, and her tone is perfectly woven into the pages. This feels like such a complete memoir; it reads true and heartfelt; and none of the pages are filler. She even creatively includes her favorite things, like specific things she carries in her pocketbooks, and the songs she listens to to motivate her. There is very little she does not discuss.

Let me tell you a secret,” Fox writes. “When I was a little girl growing up in Indianapolis, no one could say “Vivica”…I was so sensitive about my name that I made it easy for everyone else, going by a shortening of my middle name….In life sometimes we run away from the things that make us unique.”

When Fox moved to California to pursue modeling (while working and going to school), she’d carry around a portfolio just in case she ran into someone of note—you know the saying, you never know who you may run into, so always be prepared. Well, one day she gets approached by a film producer and even though the exchange had nothing to do with modeling, she recognized the potential. She saw it as an opportunity. This moment arguably highlights her hustler’s mentality even then as just a teenager. It was this same drive that would lead to Fox producing her own projects, performing in theaters, launching her own hair line, being smart enough to capitalize off the reality TV craze, and even looking for ways to find a career based on another passion of hers, sports.

At one point, Fox considered quitting show business when she saw a decline in movie role offers and being considered “too old” for most, however, she managed to pick herself back up and take matters into her own hands. It can be said that her perseverance led to her snagging a role on the hit show Empire, the sequel to Independence Day, writing her very own book and her newly announced endeavor, talk show host. Full of heart, personality, and inspiration, Every Day I’m Hustling will appeal to people younger and older than Fox.

Comparative Titles: Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God; How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

Honorable mentions: I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice by Keke Palmer and Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis