We had the good fortune of connecting with Annette Bentley Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annette Bentley, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I am an author of children’s books. I chose this career to be able to make an impact on a child’s life. I wanted to be able to inspire children to become creative and allow their imaginations to run as far it will take them. After an incident with my first son regarding his skin color and his race as a child, I saw the opportunity to help other children with the same issues. The book is called “What Color Am I?” That was my first baby and I continued from there, rendering twelve books so far. They are diverse in subjects, fiction, yet realistic.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
As I stated earlier, I am a children’s book author. What sets me apart from others is that, although my stories are fiction, some of them are written in a realistic manner, sort of like “based on a true story” and I am proud of that. I am most proud that I was once nominated for children’s book author of the year! Although I didn’t bring the trophy home, I still feel like a winner just to have been nominated. My desire to take kids on a journey, touch their lives, and positively influence them through my stories, has led me to where I am today. I am also on an exciting journey to create toy items for children. This has been a tough journey, but I am so proud that I have kept the faith and have not given up. Follow this journey on my website. In the beginning it wasn’t easy, because brick and mortar publishing companies were very strict. They still are, but companies like Amazon Direct Publishing, Fiverr, and IngramSpark, has made it so much easier to get my books out there. A lot of times I would sit down with a pen and paper, but nothing came to mind. I would go months without writing. Then all of a sudden, stories would start coming to mind left and right! I’ve learned along the way to sit back and exercise patience, although patience is not my virtue. I want the world to know that my stories are inspiring, encouraging, funny, entertaining, quirky, and educational. The subjects range from bullying, to divorce, co-parenting, recycling, skin color, equestrian therapy, getting braces, wearing masks and more! There are more to come. I want the world to know that my mission is for my stories to be a child’s favorite book to pick up and read. My books are aligned around a city to city strategy called “Get Hooked on Mrs. Annie’s Books” which center on an exceptional reader experience. I am committed to continuously enhancing a child/children’s experience when reading.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That’s a challenging question for me because I am such an introvert, a home body. If my best friend wanted to do a week long hangout, we would collaborate together and come up with a plan. In my opinion the aquarium or the Georgia fair would be the most fun and interesting places to check out.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout first of all to my mother. I recall letters she used to write to my siblings and I when we were little. My writing inspiration started from there. Then, my third grade teacher would always call on me to read. I was a great reader according to her, and I loved stories. I truly believe the joy of storytelling was inspired from my young school days, so shoutout to my third grade teacher. Next up are a handful of family members and friends. Shoutout to them for encouraging me, keeping my head up, and just keeping it real. I won’t name names. They know who they are. Last but surely not least, shoutout to all the children and parents whose lives I’ve touched and the children of the future whose lives I will touch.
Youtube: Mrs. Annie Books