Please tell our readers a little about yourself.
Hello. My name is Andrea Scott and I am also known as Ms. Impactor. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I am an elementary Spanish Teacher at a local immersion school in St. Louis, and I am an Adjunct Professor at Harris Stowe State University. I enjoy reading, writing, cooking, traveling, and learning new languages; I am currently learning French. When I am not teaching, you can always find me in my local library looking for great books to read, or on a plane traveling around the world.
Could you tell us a bit about your book and why it is a must-read?
My book Smile Big Dream Bigger, is an amazing book to read, and I am not just saying that because I am the author. This book allows individuals to think positive thoughts, to dream big, and to always wear a smile. There are days when I am not feeling great, so I decide to read my book, and after reading the book my mood changes. When I finish reading my book, I sit down and think, “wow,” I wrote this book. Smile Big Dream Bigger encourages readers to learn different languages, learn about their history, support their community, travel the world, and to not let anything stop them from being great.
What inspired you to write your book?
My community and my students inspired me to write this book. When some individuals speak of St. Louis, Missouri, the comments are not always nice. Some people think that because of the bad things that have happened in my city; it is a bad city. Some people become afraid of the city, rarely visit, move away, and make rude comments about the city. However, there are so many great individuals and opportunities in St. Louis. There was a time when I began to feel like those people because of the incidents that occurred in my city. I changed my attitude about about my city because I noticed how everyone’s reaction affected the younger generation. When my 10 year-old students and my college students told me that they were ready to give up on their dreams because of the problems in world, and they thought there was not a good future for them, I knew something had to be done. I wanted to tell all my students the truth, yet still enlighten them that they could still have an amazing future. So, I began to have more motivational talks with my students, and share some my personal story, which then lead me to writing the book Smile Big Dream Bigger.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
The most challenging aspect of writing this book was including the not “accepted”, looked down upon, and not heard of aspects in this book. For example, the main character in the book does not have a father, the mother is not married, the family lives in a dangerous neighborhood, and the main character is extremely dark-skin. This part of the book was challenging because I knew that many young children could relate to the main character in my book, but it would be the first they would read about someone who shared a similar lifestyle, the lifestyle was accepted, and there was happy ending. Also, I wanted to show my audience that people of different races are interested in learning new cultures; yet still embracing their own culture. For example, the main character in the book is African American and she is wants to learn different languages and travel the world. Furthermore, I wanted to highlight the importance of loving one’s self, including loving one’s appearance. The main character in my book is extremely dark-skin because I want the youth and the world to understand dark-skin is beautiful; everyone is beautiful. Like, I recently stated before; my goal is to not “sugarcoat” the truth, however, I want individuals to understand that no matter what, they are all destined to be great.
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
Yes, I am not afraid to admit that I have quirky writing habits. I own more than twenty writing journals that I keep in my home and in my purses. On Sundays, after church, I like to go Denny’s or the Waffle House to have breakfast and write in my journal. I reflect about church service, the previous week, and my goals for the upcoming week. I also write down ideas for new projects or a new book. When days have passed by, I like to go back and re-read some of my old entries. Although I am aware of the new technical writing instruments;I love writing in my journals. There is something about the smell and touch of a clean sheet of paper from a journal that makes my creativity flow. Sometimes, I go into stores like Target and T-J Maxx just to look at their new journals.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
It may sound kind of strange but the title for my book just came to me. After re-reading and re-reading the rough draft of my book, I notice that my main character was smiling and dreaming a lot so I wanted to use those terms. I also wanted wanted these terms to coincide with each other; meaning that one could not dream without smiling and vice versa. In addition, I wanted the title to have a strong, I mean BIG message. Therefore I came up with the term Smile Big, Dream Bigger.
Is there a message you want your readers to take away from your book?
I want my readers to understand the importance of dreaming big and having a positive attitude. I want my readers to accept that they may not always get what they want, and life will not also seem fair, but nothing should ever take away their smile or shine. Also, I want them to know that they should never stop dreaming and it is okay to dream BIG.
Do you have any advice for the yet-to-be-published writers reading this?
My advice for yet-to-be published writers is to read and write everyday, and to write with your heart. When I say write with you heart, it means that you should allow all of your feelings to be addressed on the paper. Each word that you write down should be in the rhythm of a heart beat, so that when someone reads your writing they will experience the life that is located in your book. My advice for writers is to bring back life and passion into literature, re-open those untold stories, become the voice of those unspoken words, and most importantly enjoy doing it.
What's next for you? What are you working on now?
My plans now are to start a book tour, create learning manipulatives for my book, and to start on my second book.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, etc.) and link(s)?
My preferred method for readers is to contact me via email and to follow me on my social media outlets. Email: email@example.com ,Facebook and Instagram.
Growing up in the inner city of Saint Louis, Missouri, Samantha is surrounded by violence and despair. However, Samantha and her family use a particular gesture, a smile that helps them to get through hard times. When Samantha smiles she dreams of a better future for her community, her family, and herself. Samantha has made a promise to live up to her dream, while always wearing a smile.
About the author: My name is Andrea Scott and I am also known as “Ms. Impactor”. I am called Ms. Impactor because I am not a leader, or mentor, but I am an individual who thrives to impact lives with positivity. I am a Spanish Teacher at a local immersion school in St. Louis, Missouri and an adjunct professor at Harris Stowe State University. Education is an important factor in my life and it has been ever since I was a little girl. I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri with three siblings and a single mother. Growing up in a community with limited access, crime, and sadness, I was determined to discover some of life’s greatest gifts. I enjoy learning new languages, traveling, reading, and writing. I believe that everyone is capable of living up to his or her dreams.