INTERVIEW | Make It Work by Chandra Sparks Splond @cssplond #yafiction

Chandra Sparks SplondChandra, tell us about yourself.

Of all the titles I’ve held in my 20-plus-year career, I’m most proud to be called a child of God, wife and mom. Professionally, I’m a blogger, editor, speaker and award-winning author. My young adult novel Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. I am also the author of Make It Work, He’s Got Game, The Promise and The Greatest Gift of All.

I work full-time as the director of content marketing for a college, and I do a weekly book column for Hope for Women magazine. I also work with people to get their books ready for publication. My editing clients have included several New York Times, USA Today and Essence bestselling authors. In addition, I blog five days a week at Magic City Momma where I write original content helping women, especially African-American moms living in Birmingham, Alabama, balance faith, family and fiction.

How do you find time to connect with God?

In order to connect with God, I generally get up really early when the house is quiet. I also spend my commutes in to work either praying or listening to the Bible through the YouVersion app.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I have a lot of authors and books that I enjoy. I don’t know that I really have a favorite.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I’ve known since I was 14 that I wanted to write books, but it wasn’t until after I had my daughter in 2004 that I decided to pursue my dream. Up until that point, I had worked in various aspects of publishing, and I had worked with a number of aspiring and established authors as an editor. After I had my daughter, it occurred to me that I couldn’t tell her to pursue her dreams if I hadn’t pursued mine, so I challenged myself to write a book before she turned a year old. I completed my first manuscript a month after her first birthday. Once I did that, I challenged myself to land a book deal before she turned two. I received the offer for my book Spin It Like That two months after her second birthday.

I love telling this story because it just shows that God has always been answering my steps, and he answers prayers–not just mine, but yours too. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and I moved to New York two weeks after I graduated from college because I had been offered a job in a two-year newspaper training program. I ended up eventually landing a job as a copy editor for Good Housekeeping magazine and from there, I went to Kensington Publishing where I was the consulting editor for the Arabesque romance line. I’ve had so many opportunities and doors to open for me, and I know it was nothing but God.

I carried that dream of wanting to write books in my heart for years. I worked in publishing for the longest time just so I could be close to books. My dream of writing one finally happened when I was 36. I’m a living example that you’re never too old for your dreams to come true. It took 22 years for mine to come true. Your dreams may not happen overnight, but just keep going and don’t give up.

Make It WorkTell us about your current book, Make It Work?

In my current book, Make It Work, sixteen-year-old Reagan Davis has landed her dream job, an internship at FIRE 107.1, the hottest radio station in town. It doesn’t take Reagan long to realize that between competitive coworkers and trying to ignore her growing feelings for her oh-so-cute coworker Jayden, there’s more drama at FIRE than she’s ever experienced at school. That might be okay if she could go home and relax, but her mother is acting weird and her father is keeping secrets. Even with all the madness at home, Reagan can’t deny that radio is in her blood, and whatever it takes, this summer she’s determined to…make it work.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

The idea for this book came about because I wanted to explore the workplace from a young-adult perspective.

What valuable lessons do you want readers to learn from your book?

There are several important lessons in Make It Work. One if the importance of family and loving yourself, which ends up being a them in a lot of my books and the other is the importance of having a good work ethic.

What’s next for you?

I’m always working on my relationship with God and trying to be the best wife and mom I can be. In addition to those things, I have a couple of book projects in the works, and I’m gearing up for the first anniversary of my blog.

Please tell us where we can connect with you online.

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