How to follow up on publishing a children’s novel while still a College student? Publish a second one right out of school.
The next book by Kyandreia Jones ’19 is scheduled to come out Oct. 1. Like her first, it is part of the Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES series, published by Chooseco LLC. The tale is inspired by Mary Bowser, a real figure in history. She was a freed slave who infiltrated the Confederate White House as part of an elaborate spy network overseen by Elizabeth “Bet” Van Lew, whose family formerly enslaved Bowser.
Jones finished the book before the emergence of the national discussion on this country’s racism and the movement to remove Confederate monuments. In the book, Jones says, Bowser talks about the hypocrisy about fighting for a country that doesn’t serve her as it should, yet is adamant about having a say in shaping the still young nation.
That’s an old conversation revived by the times, which is interesting, Jones observes. “It's going to be even more interesting to see how Mary is received in October,” she says.
Her first book told a story about James Armistead Lafayette, an enslaved man who was a spy and double agent during the American Revolution.
Growing up in South Florida, Jones knew since fourth grade that she wanted to be a writer, even though she often heard that she should aim for a more practical or realistic career. When Jones was College hunting as a Posse Miami scholar, she chose Hamilton because it put writing at its center. She majored in creative writing. “Being in a space where creativity was not only embraced but encouraged, that definitely had an effect on my writing,” she says.
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Her ultimate goal is to write for television and movies. Before she turned to children’s books, she wrote poetry and short stories that were, she says, “very dark.” She liked teaching herself how to write with levity and for a younger audience, and she wants to continue to learn. She wants the challenge of working in different film genres.
“I want to write for horror, for suspense, for romance,” Jones says. “If it can be written I pretty much want to write it.”