While I’m aware I don’t have any kids nor am I sure I want kids (before you jump down my throat, I LOVE kiddies and am obsessed with my niece and nephews, but I just don’t know if I, personally, want kids of my own…ok? cool! glad we clarified that!), I can still appreciate a GREAT children’s book when I see one.
Enter: From J to Z.
One of my besties Megan, who has been mentioned on this blog many a time (AND she and I might, one day, be related because her daughter Macy, pictured below, and my nephew Evan essentially fell in love at Passover seder last week!), wrote her third (yes, THIRD) book, and it’s an awesome children’s book; a children’s book I wish was around when I was a kid. From J to Z – The Shawn Carter Story is the unauthorized biography of world famous rap legend Jay Z (yes, I know, there’s been some less than stellar things in the news recently regarding Jay Z, and more on that below, BUT you can’t deny that his American dream story is a pretty damn good one!), and the illustrations are beyond incredible (all done by Luke Harper). You won’t be yawning while reading it to your kiddie; you’ll enjoy reading it just as much as the littles will enjoy listening to you read it.
And, with that, keep on reading for a fun (and incredibly inspiring) little Q&A with Megan! And then once you’re done, go buy the book, obv!
1. What inspired you to write ‘From J to Z’?
The honest to god truth is that I wanted to write another book after 99 Problems but it was such a draining process that I didn’t think I had the energy or stamina to pump another one out. I thought a kids book would be a good compromise. Like, how hard could a kids book be??? Turns out it can be hard AF, just in a different way! Ha! That said, I think Jay Z’s life and story lends itself to a children’s book nicely in that the lesson, and coincidentally, last line of the book is “The moral of Jay Z’s story // couldn’t be more crystal clear // what land you come from doesn’t matter // it’s how you persevere.”
2. How long have you been a Jay Z fan and why?
I don’t remember exactly how or when I started to like Jay but the draw to him for me, is two fold. First, as a writer myself, I’m completely in awe of his talent as a poet, writer, rapper, wordsmith – whatever you want to call it. The other attraction is that Jay is a self made man. That he made his own way. That when he couldn’t get a label to sign him that he started his own. That entreprenuerial spirit and hustle inspires me.
3. What do you make of all this Lemonade stuff going on and the allegations that he cheated on Beyonce with Rachel Roy?
I mean, it definitely looks like Jay cheated. That doesn’t really change anything for me though. It’s not like I was a Jay Z fan because he was a great husband. I have no idea what goes on or went on during their marriage. I do know, however, that marriage is hard and that the issues that arise aren’t always black and white in terms of culpability. I’m obsessed with the show Togetherness on HBO for this very reason.
4. The message you wrote in the copy I bought for my nephew I absolutely loved… ‘Keep following your dreams until you’re living them.’ What is your advice for aspiring authors (or really anyone in terms of following their dreams)?
For aspiring authors, I’d recommend my e-book, Everything I Know About Writing and Publishing A Book. How’s that for a shameless plug?
As far as general “dream following” advice I’d say make it happen. Put your head down and do the work. I mean, it obviously depends on what your specific dream is, but for me, I think I achieved my goals because I was willing to do the work. I’m not, nor have I ever been, the prettiest, smartest, funniest, – or anything “est” but I am willing to work harder than the next person and opportunity will come that way.
5. Where can people buy ‘From J to Z’ and any plans for a book tour or signing events?
6. Favorite Jay Z song?
On to the Next One.
7. Best trip you’ve ever been on and why?
Danny and I went to Tokyo and China through Intrepid Travel for a delayed honeymoon of sorts. I think that was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. We went through Intrepid Travel which is a travel company I’ve used a bunch of times (most recently solo to Africa) and I highly recommend them.
8. Life ‘motto’?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. You can take your situation seriously without taking yourself seriously.
9. If there was a movie of your life, who would play you and why?
I always used to say Rachel Bilson in regards to this question but I feel like I need a new muse these days. I’ve always thought Jenny Mollen and her husband Jason Biggs would be perfect to play me and my husband in 99 Problems – especially now that they’re parents. They’ll get the gravity of the situation that comes with adoption but also are still funny and ridiculous people.
Editor’s Note: I’m OBSESSED with Jenny Mollen, and if you don’t follow her on Snapchat, you NEED to.
10. If you had the opportunity to get drinks with ANYONE, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Ugh. So hard. I mean, Jay Z, would be up there although they say never meet your idols, right? Because they can never live up to your expectations. Judd Apatow, Warren Buffett, John Krasinski, Amy Schumer would all be phenomenal options. I wouldn’t be mad about Bradley Cooper either.
Editor’s Note: If it’s Bradley Cooper, can I come along with you?! #sohot
Photos by Rocio.