MARCH POP-UP Cover Story: Charron Monaye Creates Michelle

Hello Queen! We are thrilled to have the honor of connecting with you today!!! Please share with us; what role has writing played in your life as a youth?

Writing, for me, is and has always been my “quiet” therapy. Now (laughs) don’t look at me crazy, have you ever been through something where you had to ask yourself a question, and then out of nowhere you answered. Writing is that for me. I write my feelings, emotions, and issues, and then out of the blue I write the answers or the direction that comes. It’s like I gain the clarity of how to proceed.

Being a child who was truly uncomfortable vocalizing my feelings or emotions, writing became my escape. Even though the adult woman, you see, is more vocal and now has standards, depending on the situation, will still shut down in silence if Ifeel unheard, unappreciated, or devalued. I have always felt that people truly didn’t care to hear what you have going on, how you feel, or how they’ve hurt you.

Folks could care less, and at times, will use your vulnerability against you.

Charron Monaye

Thus, writing has always been my outlet for times such as that. But it was something about turning forty and growing in this decade, where I find myself speaking more and writing less. But writing is still used, because I know if I say what I really want to say, I would be an inmate, (laughs). Just kidding! (side eye)

What were some of your favorite household characters as a child? How did they influence you growing up?

To be honest, I watched so many characters as a child like the Smurfs, Tom & Jerry, Popeye, The Flintstones, The Jetsons… I mean it was so many! As a child, I did as children did, I played, I watched horror movies, I ate seafood, I watched videos to learn the dance routine and did them at family functions or block parties, and I talked a lot in class. I was really a rebel! I didn’t like to share and I did what I wanted to do. (laugh) But I would say my rebel and evil disposition, cause I could get really evil and mean, landed me on many punishments for a few days and/or weeks. But it is in my room, on punishment, where my composition book became my friend. I wrote all of my hate notes cause my mom was so mean, I thought and plans for my future. 

But listen, those books were full of notes, and then notes turned into stanzas, and it was those stanzas and raw emotions that started the idea that I just might have a gift. But it was at the UNCF Telethon where I performed my poem “Alone”, did my Mom see and stated, “writing is your gift”. So, being a rebel lead me to my destiny, Look At God! 

Please tell us when you knew you wanted to be an author.And why specifically for children’s books?

When I embarked on this journey to become an entrepreneur and author, I was broke, had no business knowledge, and was so clueless regarding marketing that I couldn’t even sell a pen. I was also going through a divorce, wearing a heart monitor after experiencing life-threatening panic attacks, and facing eviction, all while embracing single motherhood. The only thing I possessed was a composition book of poetry and a desire to share my story, hoping to sell enough books to provide for my children.

I was hopeful and believed having a published book would wipe away my debt and solve all of my financial troubles, but that myth was soon debunked. Even after finally getting my first book published, I had no business or marketing plan, no clear understanding of my target audience, no selling system, and no team. That investment soon taught me that education, along with my gift, was going to be the only way I could achieve this rebirthing.

In 2010, Purposeful publishing published my very first book, “My Side of the Story”, and since then, I have written and published over twenty-five books, and in 2020, I embarked on writing children’s books. You see, Since my full break in authorship, I have written and published books within the genres of, Poetry, Inspirational & Personal Development, Business, Devotional & Journaling, and Self-Help. So, since I had nothing else to write about within my personal life because I am healed, blessed, and happy, I decided to try children’s books. and out of the pandemic this series was born. 

Is there anything you learned through the process that you’d want to share with aspiring authors?

The one lesson I have learned, is everything about your life, from what happened to you, for you, through you, and with you is a testimony. Just think, we live our lives based on the wisdom, stories, and knowledge of others, the next generation is depending on us to leave nuggets and gems for them to help with and continue their journey through life. God allows us to go through and get through things so we can share it and bless others.

Not sharing is withholding the good news.

Charron Monaye

So, if you are unsure about publishing or sharing your story, ask yourself one simple question, “where would you be, right now, if your family, mentor, teacher, or friend did not share their wisdom with you. You are the good news someone needs, bless them!!! Someone needs you, so author the book, write the script, speak at the conference, and if you need help contact me. 

We’ve heard that your books and main character arecomparable in concept to Dora The Explorer! In what ways are they relatable and what inspired you about the comparison?

Let me just say, my oldest child enjoyed watching the cartoon, Dora The Explorer, simply because in every episode Dora was going on some kind of adventure/ Whether it was teaching the Spanish language or the items on her map, kids learned something within every show. In addition, Dora was Latina, and her representation empowered little Latina girls, as well.

Now, even though. Michelle is an African American girl; she goes on adventures within every book. We are not a cartoon yet, but I am trusting in God that it’s coming!!! Now Michelle is not taking trips through mountains and forests to find a treasure, but Michelle’s adventures are based on the everyday life, desires, dreams, and lessons of any child. Within Michelle’s adventures, she is either teaching the importance of learning your history to the need of understanding money management early, and everything in between. From Michelle Goes to the Beach to Michelle sells Zero Books, Michelle is introducing, inspiring, and allowing children to read stories about other children who think, dream, aspire, explore and look like them. In each adventure, there is representation of all cultures, so any child can see themselves win!

Michelle may be the lead character, but she has friends!

What do you hope your readers are able to take away from your books? And how can parents help to support this mission?

For me, it’s all about inspiration, motivation, and showing people, through words and actions, it can be done. It may not happen tomorrow or tonight before 11:59pm, but it will happen. Being a writer, who can write children’s stories and lifestyle stories, I can teach you how to have fun and overcome pain, why… because I did! I use my pen to inspire all to be better, try harder, and know that anything truly is possible. I am looking for not just parents to support, but teachers, paraprofessionals, libraries, family members, church members, sorority and fraternity members, Shout out to my Oh So Finer Women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc, (sorry finer plug) But I am seeking support from all to help me get these books, or a book to the hands that need them. I have published everything from devotionals to entrepreneurship books. I leave no age or person behind. God gave me this gift to share the good news, and through six genres, I have and still is.

What have been some of Michelle’s favorite adventures? And where do you pull inspiration from to tell her stories?

Where hasn’t this little girl gone? Let me see, Michelle has been to Paris, the Bank, the Beach, to Congress, and in her upcoming books she is heading to a HBCU, an Army Base, Philadelphia….. she is really all over the place! Her adventures are pulled directly from my life and what I have done. You see, Michelle is my “real” middle name, Charron Michelle is my real government name, so when I created this character, I pulled from the inner child within me at the age of seven, and then looked at the adventures and stories the adult Charron has accomplished and the lessons learned and I combined the two together. That is how the journey started. 

For example, the first book in the series is Michelle & Her Magical Pen, which shares the story of Michelle and her classmates having to co-author a book that would be published by her teacher. True Story, At the age of seven, Charron started writing poetry and at the age of twelve her poem “Alone” was published in a book anthology sponsored by The Library of Congress entitled, Tears of Fire. The ages may be off, but I have done or aspire to do, everything Michelle is doing!

I still have yet to get to Paris, so if you are having a trip to Paris, I need to go! That is the only thing that child has gone that I am still praying to get to. Any takers willing to help a sista out! (laugh)

With it being Women’s History Month, can you share any concepts or people that resonate with you personally regarding the history of WOC?

Being a Bold, Proud, and Blessed African American Woman, the concepts, purpose, and ideals of this month is needed! Being a woman is not easy, and when you add on mother, wife, girlfriend, friend, sister, aunt, grandmother, businesswoman, entrepreneur, CEO, employee, or sorority sister… I know I added every label here… it’s a lot! And let me shout out the Single Mothers… we make it look easy, but a Sistah is tired! Thank you, Keke Palmer, for the love!!! But, back to the question, when it comes to Women’s History Month, the person who resonates with me is my Mother.

That woman exemplifies strength, determination, faith, and power. She showed me what working when tired looked like, simply because she had a goal. She showed me what working a job you hate, but needed looked like, simply because you have children to take care of. She showed me what laughter looked like because everything in life doesn’t have to be sad simplybecause joy always come in the morning. She taught me that education is the key and with it, I will go far and after threedegrees and a government job, profitable business, and successful writing career, she ain’t never lied! Thanks Mom!! 

Even though she is not in a history book, this month gives Women the opportunity to celebrate Women, especially those who paved the way or taught you with the crumbles and clues they dropped behind them. Outside of my mom, I resonate with the women’s strength of Taraji P. Henson, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Sonia Sanchez, Phillis Wheatley, Toni Morrison, it’s so many! I stand on the shoulders of so many! 

What’s next for your book series? What can we expect and how can our readers buy books?

I have more Michelle books, more collaborations, cartoons or films based on my books, and just more writing. For those who don’t know, I am also a ghostwriter and scriptwriter, so if you need help penning your story, I can help you. 

The next book in the Adventure of Michelle series will be “Marquis Goes To The Supreme Court” which will be releasedthis Spring. Even though Michelle is not the lead in the story, she is still in it. She is comfortable with sharing her platform! (laughs) ln this book, Marquis and his friends will tour the Supreme Court and be educated on the role of the justices, the court’s history and the celebration of the first African American Woman Justice, Mrs. Ketanji Brown Jackson. So, stay connected to my sites for that big release.

Thank you for the opportunity and Happy Women’s Month to all!!!!” — Charron Monaye

More About Charron Monaye:

Charron Monaye is the thought-provoking writer, playwright, and creator of The Adventures of Michelle children’s book series. For her collective works, Monaye received numerous honors, including being appointed as “Fellow of the Most Excellent Order of International Experts (FOIE)” in the United Nations and the recipient of an Assembly Resolution from the New Jersey General Assembly, Citation from the 31st New Jersey Senate, and a Library of Congress poetry winner. Since 1992, Monaye has contributed to the arts, entertainment, music, and media industries by putting thoughts to paper. Monaye has authored over twenty-five books in six different genres, served as a staff writer for CNN iReport and The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals, contributed to twenty book compilations, and created and produced five theatrical productions and one short film. Her stage play, Get Out of Your Own Way, is her most successful play to date, with premieres and sold-out audiences in Hollywood, CA, and Times Square, NY. Since 2019, she has shared her gift of exceptional writing with various individuals, organizations, and celebrities by partnering to serve as their ghostwriter. In addition to her success with writing, Monaye is the founder of Pen Legacy Publishing. This groundbreaking literary company provides a platform to elevate the voices of aspiring writers through book publishing and scriptwriting. From its inception in 2015, Pen Legacy has published over one hundred books, with some becoming Amazon Bestsellers and others generating corporate deals for authors. Furthermore, Charron Monaye is the woman behind the successful author careers of Ms. Evelyn Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Precious L. Williams, Esq. (Corporate Trainer with BMW, MasterCard, and Pitch Coach for the TV show, Shark Tank), Ty Johnston-Chavis (Ty Johnston-Chavis, p.g.a – TV & Film Producer, TV Showrunner), and Debbie D. Douglas (Talent Recruiter for Paramount Network) to name a few. Monaye has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from West Chester University, a Master’s in Public Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management, a Certificate in Paralegal Studies and Life Coaching, and an Honorary Doctorate from CICA International University & Seminary. In addition, Monaye studied writing for television and novel writing and editing under the tutelage of New York Times Bestselling Author and creator of Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes, and NAACP Image Award Winner and New York Times Bestselling Author Victoria Christopher Murray.Charron Monaye is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Order of Eastern Star, and First Baptist Church of Crestmont. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, she currently resides in Wesley Chapel, FL, with her two sons.