Candid q & a
What’s your name?
When I was born, my name was Candid Jean Taylor. When I got married, it changed to Candid Taylor Brandon. But the people who love me the most call me mommy.
When I was a child, it was Can Can or CandidJean. When I was in high school, it changed to CT or C-Teezy. In undergrad: Can D-I-D, Candy Cane, Mello Yello, Diddy, and Did.
Where are you from?
Flint, Michigan, born and raised. Graduated from Flint Central High School (if you’re from Flint, you always rep your high school. ALWAYS!).
Where did you go to college and what did you major in?
C-L-A-R-K A-T-L-A-N-T-A U, University C-A-U! I graduated from the illustrious Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. It is an HBCU (Historical Black College & University). The best decision ever! I have a BA in Mass Media Arts – Public Relations.
Do you have more degrees?
I do. I have an MA in Children’s Literature from Eastern Michigan University.
That’s a lot of schooling, why not a PhD?
Ohhhhh… the PhD. I have seen a lot of people torture themselves going down that road. Honestly, I’m scared. That’s a lot of work and commitment that I’m not willing to give right now. But if I ever do, I want a PhD in linguistics, African American history, or art history. And hopefully, it will be an honorary degree!
I have a husband, Kellen. It will be 9 years on Sept. 1, 2020. I have a 14-year old step-daughter named Amiya, who lives with us primarily. And I have a daughter named Chandler (6) and a daughter named Aubrey (4). There will be no more children.
What are three things that bring you joy?
My daughters’ laughter, restaurants I’ve never been to, sitting on my patio with coffee in silence watching the trees, going to art museums, getting a new coffee mug, and opening a fresh notebook. Yes, I gave more than 3, I don’t like to be put in a box.
What was your favorite book(s) when you were a child?
My favorite picture books as a child were The Paperbag Princess; Miss Nelson is Missing; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; The Principal's New Clothes; and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. My favorite chapter book was Matilda by Roald Dahl. I still have all these books on my bookshelf with my name written in them and the year I got each.
Do you have a hobby?
I create digital art and acrylic paintings. I started doing it as art therapy for my depression. It really helps me! So now, I do it every chance I get. I have quite the personal art collection currently.
How did you come to write this book?
I actually wrote the first manuscript in 2007 when I was teaching second grade. I had no children of my own. The idea from the story just came to me after reading Please, Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee. Fast forward to 2014 when I had my first child. My husband was reading Please, Baby Please to our little baby girl and, after reading it, he says, “I don’t get why she loves this book. It's just repeating the same thing over and over again.” I explained to him about predictable books and how they are important to literacy development. Then I remembered my book and decided parents need it to understand predictable books and children need it to develop their literacy skills and have a familiar story line.
Why did you choose to self-publish?
I attempted to get Oh Brother, Little Brother published back in 2007, but got a lot of rejection letters, so I stopped pursuing it. In 2010, while in grad school, I interned at a children’s publishing company. I pitched one of my friend’s manuscript. They loved it and contracted her. I was fortunate enough to be a part of every step in the process. I was amazed by how authors don’t have any say in the process. From the title, to cutting the story down, and the choice in the illustrator. Even though my friend’s book turned out amazing, I wanted full creative control and not compromise a thing. So, I knew self-publishing was the best route for me. And it just so happened that I married an independent publisher. So, it worked out great.