Taylor Darks (T.B. Darks) is a writer and author of the new children’s novel The Fluffy Adventures of FroMo. Her first book, Caged: A Poetic Collection of the African American Experience (released in 2017), is currently a part of the Sociology of the Black Experience class curriculum at Florida A&M University. Her second book, Wash Day, a popular children’s book, was released in 2018. Now pursuing a doctoral degree at Florida State University in sociology, Taylor calls Tallahassee, FL home. As a former women’s basketball player for FAMU, she strives to educate youth on the importance of breaking stereotypes, loving oneself, and being the best version of yourself. You can visit her online at www.tbdarksauthor.com or @tb_darks on Instagram and Twitter.
Black Girls Create: What do you create?
I am an author. I write books and tell the stories I wish I had as a child, the ones I think need to be told. I've published three books so far: a book of poetry, Caged: A Poetic Collection of the African American Experience, Wash Day, a children's picture book, and The Fluffy Adventures of Fromo, a middle-grade novel.
BGC: Why do you create?
I love the whole process of publishing. Coming up with the idea, working through the writing process, having an artist bring it to life. I definitely can't draw, so writing is the only way I can show readers the images that I see. I really enjoy everything about creating.
BGC: Who is your audience?
My current audience is mainly children, since I've written two children's books. But I am preparing to publish my first adult novel and can't wait to delve into that audience as well.
BGC: What inspired you to create a children’s book?
Children are like sponges. This is the most crucial time of their lives. I wanted to contribute to the Black children’s literature movement and give children the representation they need. No matter if it’s funny, serious, or about social issues, it’s most important for them to see themselves in a positive light and just being kids.
BGC: Where did the idea for The Fluffy Adventures of Fromo come from?
I was brainstorming ideas about a year ago and The Fluffy Adventures of Fromo started out as a funny joke. But then I developed it into a children's novel full of self love and natural hair awesomeness. It really feels like I've had the idea all along, the book just feels like it’s a part of me that way.
BGC: How did you get FroMo published? I know you did a Kickstarter, what was that process like?
The Fluffy Adventures of Fromo was self-published. It was more of a Do It Yourself experience than anything. Since this is my third book the process is a lot smoother. The editing, formatting, and ongoing search for an artist is what proves to be the most challenging.
The process of self-publishing is nothing short of being an entrepreneur, or as other self-published authors call themselves "authorpenuers." It’s a constant struggle of credibility, speaking engagements, and networking.
BGC: Who or what inspired you and continues to inspire you?
I was inspired in my 10th grade creative writing class. I had never written for anything other than school and this opportunity really opened my eyes to what writing can do — how it can paint a picture of words. I was directly influenced by Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. Her creativity and writing style is everything I strive for. I want to be able to leave my readers with mystery and understanding just as she does in Song of Solomon.
BGC: Why is it important as a Black person to create?
No one can tell your story better than you. Toni Morrison’s quote, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it,” has always stuck with me. There is so much room for Black voices to be heard and to inspire others. That’s what I think Black creatives are about. We open so many doors.
BGC: How do you balance creating with the rest of your life?
Honestly creating feels like it is my life. Ironically, it feels like my actual life is the hobby. I love creating and I always make time for it. It motivates me in everything I do.
BGC: Any advice for new creators?
Start today! Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, or when you finish school, or when the stars align just right. Now is the time. Too often, I have friends that say they are waiting to graduate or waiting for the right moment and never get around to it. The best time to start is now, don't wait for when you’re ready.
BGC: Any future projects you’d like to share?
I'm currently working on an adult novel that exposes the psychological effects of black stereotypes, drugs, and is a criticism of the Black upper class. It’s very creative and not something you would expect and I can’t wait to release it.