Remon M. Jourdan is the author of Willie the Wheelchair. He is an underground spoken-word poet from Massachusetts trying to return to his love of writing after a car accident left him paralyzed. He designs and maintains a personal website, Reyality.com, which explores creative ways of inspiring and motivating others through music, writing and poetry. When he’s not performing, volunteering or creating, he is absorbing the inspiration from his daughter, Nerissa Rae to keep moving forward.
The story of Willie the Wheelchair is simply about finding your importance in the world. At first Willie feels that his differences are holding him back.
“You see, Willie was born with wheels on the ends of his feet
And he wished he had legs like other chairs he would meet”
We are all different, with different gifts to share as long as we realize that differences should be celebrated.
How are you doing today Remon? I’m happy to welcome you to Inside The Books.Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to become a children’s book author?
Thanks for having me. Born and raised in Cambridge Massachusetts my journey began with music after entering the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School. I developed a love for songwriting and poetry during this time which has stayed with me ever since. In 2002 I was in the car accident that left me paralyzed. And it was in trying to communicate all my new challenges to my daughter who was very young at the time that the children’s book idea came about.
Some people know at an early age that they were born to be an author. When did you know that you were one of those people?
I grew up with a love for poetry and music, but really simply “words” and how they can be used and manipulated to communicate emotion. But it was my 5th grade English teacher, Ms. Yeoman, who introduced me to the world of becoming an author, as well as to one of my favorite poets, Edgar Allen Poe. After feeling what I felt from reading his works, I knew I wanted to be able to have a similar effect on others through my works.
How does poetry and music play a role in the creation of your children books?
Basically I use it as a foundation for communicating in my books. As an adult I can still remember all the nursery rhymes and songs that are sung to children. And that’s what I strive to reinvent in my stories: something fun to read aloud, melodic, flowing, and easy to remember.
One of my favorite things about writing is when I discover a new character. How did you discover your character Willie?
One of the favorite things my daughter loved to do when she was young was to sit in my wheelchair. Her fascination made me realize that the “adult” notions about what a wheelchair is and what it entails can take away from how amazing and empowering they truly are, and from there came Willie.
What is the one of your favorite things about Willie?
For me it’s that Willie realized for himself that he had something to offer with his differences. And that some of his challenges were self-inflicted, so when he finally became “aware” some of those barriers immediately disappeared.
If I was to interview your character Willie right now, what would he like to share with everyone?
He would simply remind all of us not to forget how special we are with all our differences and uniqueness.
I love the soft pastel colors of your cover illustration. How involved were you with the illustrations of your book?
Me and my wonderful illustrator, Syanne Djaenal, worked hand-in-hand to create something that would be as fun to see as to read.
Is your book Willie the Wheelchair the first book in a series? If so, can you tell us about the next book in the series?
Hopefully so, my plan was to have Willie go to school next and possibly find a job in the future. I’m currently working on the funding for that and my other projects.
Can you share with us your goals for any future books?
Along with Willie sequels, I’m hoping to publish as children’s book describing my daughter’s experience with my spinal cord injury seen through her young imaginative eyes, Risa and Superdad.
Do you have any events coming up that you would like to share with us?
I will be performing a short poem as well as having copies of Willie the Wheelchair available for sale at the 6th Annual Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts on March 29, 2014 at the Mass Hospital School in Canton Massachusetts.
Which social sites do you like to use to connect with people?
You can always reach out to me from my website www.Reyality.com.
Thank you for your time. It was a pleasure speaking with you.