Who said you can’t be in your early 20s and become an author? Daijah Ross is here to tell you that it is possible. Ross is a recent graduate from Georgia State University who is already an author of the children’s book “Suri Saves the Soul.” With a love for singing, writing and music, Ross has combined her talents and experiences into a positive children’s book. I got a chance to chat with her to talk
about the inspiration, success and the future of the character Suri.
CxC: So tell me a little about how everything got started with writing a children’s book.
Ross: What got me started on the book? Well, I use to work with kids at an autism center, and the reason I chose to work there was because I use to babysit my cousin who had autism. I was so use to working with him, and he was just my soft spot. I always felt like it takes certain people to work with kids with autism or disabilities in general. But specifically autism, because people think they are so different and they write them off so quickly just because. [The kids] are so smart.
And the autism center, oh my god, those kids just changed my life, and I worked with the babies. They were just so precious. They were like one and two, but they would still catch it—[autism]— early. So that was really fun, catching it early and being one on one with them.
I use to always read them stories, and I was like I could totally write children’s books. This is so easy. Even though I’m not the best illustrator, I use to always draw and I love writing. I just love being creative and hands on. So, I always kept that in the back of my mind. Then I took a graphic designing class, and I’m the least techie. I do not like computers. If I can’t write it and draw it out, then I don’t want anything to do with it. So I took the class…and the last project was to write a children’s book. It just brought me back to my last job and I was so excited. I was like I’m going to take this super seriously.
We had to write three stories and take them to my professor and the one I really liked was of course “Suri Saves the Soul.” It was kind of like a reflection of me; a kid who loves to sing, but doesn’t really understand it. My parents told me it was a gift, but I kind of put it on the back burner. It wasn’t until I got older [that] I realized what it—singing— could do for myself and what it could do for people. So I just took that and put it in a book that maybe children can understand and adults can even understand, because everybody has gifts and everyone has the power to be a light in someone’s life. From there, I did some research self publishing and my dad writes books, so he gave me some advice. And that’s pretty much how it all got started.
CxC: So, tell me about the feeling of publishing your first book. How does it feel now that you’re a published author?
Ross: It feels surreal. Every time I go out and stuff, they’re like ‘oh you wrote a book’ and I’m like oh yeah I did, I published it. It just sounds like something I just did because everything that’s so huge to me, I make it so small because I know there’s always so much more to do. It feels really good though just to say that I did something on my own. Like nobody was pushing me to do it. It was something I had to push myself to do. It was one thing I really sat down and mapped out myself. That really showed me that I can do anything I put my mind to, we all can.
CxC: Do you plan on making this a series?
Ross: Yes! I definitely do. Because the story is such a reflection of me, and I’m like okay what story should I tell next from my childhood? [A story in] a nice, positive way that children can receive it [along with] parents, my peers, and different adults. Like I know I came from a home with a stepfather and a stepmother, so blended families, that’s something you don’t here about everyday. [However] that’s so many children’s reality. I want children to know that they’re not alone and that having both parents in the house is amazing, but having [stepparents] step in and everyone loves each other is also amazing. It’s going to be a series for sure.
CxC: So what ages would you say your book is for?
Ross: I would definitely say from four to six. My niece is six and she read it pretty well. So Pr-K to First grade.
CxC: Do you have any plans on doing any books for teenagers? Like around the ages where they’re finding out who they are?
Ross: Yes, 18 or 19 and up, because I use to love those teen novels like “Clique” and “Gossip Girl.” I would love to write a book like that. I feel like it would be so easy. But now I’m now more into self help, so I would definitely like to write something for my age like the college years and young adults.
CxC: For all of the young creators and entrepreneurs out there that feel like they need all of this experience to become an author or whatever, what advice would you give them?
Ross: Since I’ve been there just a couple months ago, I would definitely say that path is yours. It’s no one else’s. While we’re so focused on somebody else, how your best friend, or Facebook friend you went to high school with is doing this, that, and a third. They’re off getting married or doing a lot of things and you’re like oh my god what am I doing? Focus on you, you know.
When we’re so into their lives, we’re never going to get to where we’re going because we are so worried about what everyone else has going on. If you just focus on you, and act as if you’re the only person in this world, the only person that wants this job or publish this book, it will be so much easier. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or how short it takes, you’re working on your time. So there’s nobody to cloud your judgement, or get into your way because you’re focused on you. Once we start turning our heads, that’s when we get distracted off of our path. So just focus on you, stay in your lane and also don’t be so hard on yourself. No one has this thing figured out. If you just stay focused and love yourself, you will always be in the right place at the right time.You will always be at the top because it’s your journey.