For some of us, books are more than words on a page; they do more than tell stories. When emerging author and entrepreneur, Crown Shepherd, aka Crown the Writer, found black authors, her writing soared. Her love for reading and writing, which had gone dormant for about ten years, was resurrected thanks to Octavia Butler and Jesmyn Ward, who is among the black authors of Shepherd’s book club picks. “They are a big reason why I’m at this point in my life where I’m publishing my first book,” she tells So Booking Cool. “I have multiple other projects in the works. I don’t know if I’d be here if I wasn’t reading more black authors.” Knowing firsthand the power of representation, Shepherd launched her journey as an author with her picture book, Black Boy, Black Boy (Beaver’s Pond Press, May 12, 2020), illustrated by Mychal Batson. The book aims to empower and celebrate black boys as they live in the now and think about their future.
Shepherd’s many nephews (she has more than 10), inspired Black Boy, Black Boy. She noticed their interest in reading waned, when it was normally their pastime. Realization eventually dawned on her. “There are books out there, but there’re not a lot of books that cater specifically to black boys,” she says. “So, I wanted to change that.”
In writing Black Boy, Black Boy, Shepherd knew she wanted to highlight black boys as well as the breadth of their appearances and complexions–something she says a publisher failed to grasp. This was why having creative control was important to her; and she says her wants and needs were satiated with Beaver’s Pond Press, whom she would like to publish her next book.
Speaking of the next book, a comic book series, Crown, is one of Shepherd’s slew of upcoming projects—it is one of passion. “Crown is…that’s my baby. That’s my legacy right there.” The author bears a smile. “Crown is a comic book based off of a female super-hero whose superpower is her hair. So any hairstyle you can think of is a superpower or a weapon.”
Watch the interview to learn more about Shepherd including her Kickstarter experience and why she probably won’t utilize it again; enlisting Batson to illustrate; her thoughts on black boys and the school system; book clubs and the conversations they can spark; why Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is one of her favorites; what she would ask her favorite writers; what she wants readers to take away from her work; whether she envisions her literature being adapted for the screens; her advice for other creatives in general during the COVID-19; her entrepreneurship; and more! For more information, visit Shepherd’s official website and pre-order the book here.