How long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved to write, even as a child. I started my official writing journey in 2007, twelve years ago.
What did you do before you became an author? If you are not writing full-time, what other work do you do?
I’ve been an elementary school teacher for over 20 years, with 3 years as a principal. I’m still teaching, and I write at night. I also volunteer as a Co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
My favorite thing about being a writer is that I get to be creative and imaginative while at the same time contributing to diversity in children’s books.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love to write books that challenge me in some way, whether that means I’m researching a new topic, exploring a new category or genre, or writing something that is just plain hard to execute for some reason!
What type of book are you writing? What draws you to this category?
I write across categories, from picture books to young adult novels. Each category allows me to express a different facet of my personality and interests. I enjoy chapter books because children this age are refreshingly honest, genuinely kind, and enthusiastic about the world.
What would you like potential readers to know about your book?
The Azaleah Lane books take place in Washington, D.C. I had never been there, so I visited the nation’s capital to do research for this series. I saw Nikita the tiger at the National Zoo, just like Azaleah!
What are your social media handle(s)?
You can find me on Twitter as @nikki2Smith. You can also find my author page on Facebook at Nikki Shannon Smith, Author. I’m also Nikki Shannon Smith on Instagram. My website is www.nikkishannonsmith.com.
Tell us one surprising/interesting/fun fact about yourself!
I’m afraid of spiders. VERY AFRAID.