Author Interview Series
Nakesha Lowe, author of Just Leave Me Alone
Interviewed by: Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review
PBR: Today we are talking with Nakesha Lowe, author of Just Leave Me Alone, published by AuthorHouse and available on Amazon and other fine retailers. Thank you Nakesha for taking your time to speak with us.
NL: I should be thanking you. Pacific Book Review seems to have a fine reputation. I wish I would have known about you a long time ago.
PBR: Before we get into the message of your book, I would like to ask you about Irene Olds, the illustrator with such a fine talent for depicting your characters. How did you come about to work with Irene on this book?
NL: Irene olds is a professional illustrator that works with AuthorHouse. When she was the illustrator of my first book, I fell in love with her creativity. It's almost like she could feel the emotions of my manuscript. I knew then she was going to be my illustrator for my second book.
PBR: Whose idea was it to use the "mouse characters" as the theme for the illustrations?
NL: The idea to use mouse characters was mine. I know that children love animals. When I published my first book, "It's All About Me," I wasn't sure what kind of character would grab the eyes of children; but I think I made a good decision.
PBR: Now, concerning the theme of your book, you clearly make it known to parents that smothering your kids with overly controlling guidance can lead to hurt feelings and frustration. Tell us about how this has become your focus for writing this book.
NL: I rebelled against my mother also as a teen because I felt like she was too strict when it came to me and my sister. We couldn't ever go anywhere and do things like all the other kids. So, if I wanted to go somewhere or do something I would lie to her to get out the house, and hope she wouldn't find out the truth later.
PBR: Do you think when parents are overly protective of their children; it can have an adverse effect on the child's self-esteem and confidence?
NL: Definitely, my mother was very authoritative too. All she seemed to do was yell at me and my siblings. That in return destroyed my confidence and self expression. I'm doing that very same thing with my children. I realized that one day when I asked them, "Do you think I'm too hard on you guys?" They both said,"Sometimes." Not only did I feel like a terrible mother but I was so sad. As a child, I always said I would never treat my children the way my mother treated me, but the truth is I am just like her. That's when I realized my parenting attitude had to change or my relationship with my children would be in jeopardy in the future. Since then things have really changed.
PBR: I noticed in your book the disciplining parent was the mother, not the father. In one part you have the young boy ridiculed as a "Mamma's boy," and in another drawing, the father character was simply reading the newspaper on the couch, not interfering with the action of the mother sending the boy off to his room. Why have you chosen the maternal influence as being the overbearing parent?
NL: My children love to spend time with their dad, but when they come to me on the weekend they are so ready to go. Half of the time I don't get a goodbye or I love you, that hurts my feelings sometimes because their dad is more laid back and passive while I'm way more authoritative and a little too hard on them at times.
PBR: What are some are some of the ways you think parents can be less overprotective of their children?
NL: You can still be a parent and let your children have freedom to have their own space. Where they draw the line is totally up to them. I'm not an expert on parenting. I'm just speaking from my own experiences.
PBR: Obviously this is a problem with many families in our society. What would you like to see changed by people buying and reading your book?
NL: I want my books to bring parents closer with their children and have more open lines of communication with everything that's going on in their lives, even the bad things.
PBR: Now, in our post 9-1-1 society, with school shootings and kids carrying guns, gang influence and drug use by minors, do you feel the rules for parental protection are justified more than in past decades? Tell us more about your thoughts where the parents should draw the line with being too smothering?
NL: I don't condone violence in any situations. I am a single parent of two children. I have been very strict with them practically all of their lives. You have to let children have some kind of freedom at some point, but of course not enough to break rules of society and get into trouble. Lots of children have parents that are overbearing, and sooner or later that child will rebel; start hanging with the wrong crowds, lie to you, and get in trouble at school. I am speaking from experience on the giving and receiving end. My son is twelve years old and is turning thirteen this year. He will be officially a teenager. Wish me luck!
PBR: You do lovely work. Would you like to make any additional comments?
NL: Thank you very much. I know my books are a little unusual, but they are also innovative and humorous. Every writer has their own style.
PBR: Again, Just Leave Me Alone is beautifully illustrated and printed in a large format ideal for children's libraries. We wish you the most success with your new book and hope it changes the lives of many families for the better by having them learn the lessons you so artfully expressed.
NL: I hope to help a lot of people, especially children that have problems with self expression. Self expression is creativity from the heart and that's what my books are based on.