Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I am Atara Twersky, author of the Curlee Girlee children’s book series. Curlee Girlee debuted in November of 2016, and the second book in the series, Curlee Girlee’s Got Talent premiers in November 2019. I was named a TODAY SHOW Style Hero in connection with my Curlee Girlee book and brand and the curly girl movement which I founded. Curlee Girlee was also gifted in the official Grammy Awards and the Everybody Wins Oscars gift bags. I also now have a parenting podcast, Curlee Girlee’s Crackin’ the Kid Code, to help moms and dads of curly and non-curlys to navigate the road to empowerment through balance.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Curlee Girlee was inspired by my youngest daughter. When she was about three years old, she began to sprout curls in our family of mostly straight hair. I have always felt that hair evokes visceral emotions for women and that in particular curly haired women often feel “less than” their straight haired counterparts. I never wanted my youngest to feel that way about her hair.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
My children definitely are my initial inspiration. Curlee Girlee has also sparked a movement of girl empowerment and embracing our uniqueness, so keeping those in mind are very inspiring as the brand continues to grow.
How do you deal with creative block?
I step away from writing and try to clear my head. I spend time with my kids, who are my biggest inspiration because I want them to be proud of the work I do and take the messages I write about to heart.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not getting the correct message out or not making it clear enough. We are all about teaching children to embrace themselves, and so the most important part of the books is making sure the message comes across in a way that children will understand and relate to in a positive and impactful way.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
We keep Curlee Girlee in every title in order to stay on brand and to make sure embracing your curls is always a prominent part of each book. My amazing illustrator Karen Wolcott is very collaborative and together she helps bring my vision to life.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I try not to let them get to me. What is important is the positive impact my books have on people, so that is what I focus on. But it is important, I think, to consider constructive criticism, so that I can make the series as good as it can be and can reach even more children.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I wrote the first Curlee Girlee book for my daughter so she could learn to embrace her curls and her own uniqueness. I never expected Curlee Girlee to take off as it did and begin a movement, and I never anticipated becoming an author either. Now, for Curlee Girlee’s Got Talent, I am already an author with a following; I know there are children who are excited to read this book that aren’t just my own children, so I had a lot more people to keep in mind while writing this second book.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The most surprising thing I encountered during the process was how easily the words had come to me when I first began to write. The best part was how much my children loved and related to the book, and of how proud they were of my becoming an author! The worst thing, however, was trying to figure out how to balance my time with writing while also working full time as an attorney and also spending time with my family.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
Both are important. I mostly aim to serve my readers, since my books revolve around children’s self-esteem and empowerment, so I want my readers to feel better after reading my books. But I also want my books to be something that I am proud of.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I have a lot of emotional investment in the Curlee Girlee series since it began as a way to help my daughter. I always keep her, her two siblings, and all my other child readers in mind when writing, and they help to inspire me and drive the direction of my books.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Be passionate about what you write about, and write about things that you care deeply about. Because the topic of Curlee Girlee is so personal to me, I am very passionate about writing these books, and so the words come very easily.
What are your plans for future books?
Currently, we are preparing for the launch of the second book in the Curlee Girlee series, Curlee Girlee’s Got Talent, which focuses on the topic of girls in STEM. I will be continuing the series after that, each book based off another area of girl empowerment.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
My favorite poem is If by Rudyard Kipling, and I have been able to recite it from memory since I was ten years old! I love to bike and ski I love the solitude of these sports and the fast paced nature of them. I am more comfortable in heels than sneakers!