Imagine writing a best-selling book before your 9th birthday. Local author Nia Mya Reese lived out her dream of writing a book and became a best-selling author–at age 8. The third-grader released her second book this past December. Here, the nine-year-old wonder tells Birmingham magazine what inspired her to become an author and how she made it happen.
Birmingham magazine: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Nia Mya Reese: I am in 3rd grade, and I’m 9 years old. People say that I’m “bubbly.” I think that I’m funny and a good friend. I love swimming, art, drawing, teaching, writing, and video games–who doesn’t?
BM: What inspired you to want to write a book?
NMR: It all started as a class assignment where my teacher told us to write about something we were an expert at. I said that I was an expert at dealing with and caring for my annoying little brother. My mommy saw it when I brought it home over the summer and told me it was really good and asked if I wanted to make it a book. So, my parents got it published.
My second book, “Bully at School,” I wrote because we were learning so much about bullying in school, and I thought that people around the world must be dealing with it, so I couldn’t just sit there and not do anything about it. So, the idea popped in my head to write about it.
BM: How did you make the dream of writing a book a reality?
NMR: My part was to write down what was in my head and to go over it during the summer. Then my high school-aged cousin, Faith Martin, came up with illustration ideas. My mommy then found a publisher.
BM: What was the process like of writing and finding a publisher?
NMR: For the first book, my teacher told us to write five things that made us an expert, and I just finished it over the summer. The second book, I worked on it little by little–and as ideas came to my head, I just wrote them down in my journal. Sometimes when I get to the very end I want to stop, but I just keep pushing to finish it.
Cherinita Reese (Nia Mya’s mother): After Nia Mya finished writing her first book a little over a year ago, I really just wanted to find someone who could walk us through the process, since we had no idea what we were doing–someone who did excellent work. So, I asked around and reached out to Yorkshire Publishing in Oklahoma just to get advice. When they saw the manuscript, they told us they wanted to partner with us in getting it published and we have maintained
BM: Your first book was obviously well received. What do you think made it so popular?
NMR: One, because I’m a kid–mostly adults write books, not kids. Also, because I think people relate to having brothers and sisters and them being annoying.
BM: What was the inspiration for the second book?
NMR: What it has in common with the first book is that it gives “tips.” My first book gave tips in dealing with your siblings, this one at the end I gave tips to the bully for making friends and tips for those being bullied.
BM: Tell me a little bit more about the second book.
NMR: It’s about a girl named Shelia who is sad on the inside so she bullies–when really she just doesn’t know how to make friends.
BM: What advice would you give to other kids wanting to pursue their dreams?
NMR: Never ever let fear stop you from following your dreams. I always tell people that following your dreams is as easy as “ABC”:
A: Ask for help.
B: Believe that you can do it.
C: No Copying–Be yourself not someone else.
This story appears in Birmingham magazine’s March 2018 issue. Subscribe today!