Alyson Flippo is the mother of two children. When she gave birth to her daughter at age 44, she had experienced enough of the challenges placed on young girls to cause her great concern. She has related that she would lie in bed each night and worry about how to prepare her daughter for the array of challenges that lay ahead. It was during those long nights that she realized the world needed to begin sending more positive messages to our girls as soon as they enter this world so they can develop the strength needed to fend off the often negative messages received from the media and other sources. Her book was inspired by her desire to remind each and every reader of their vast potential – the strength that comes from within.
Determined to do something to try to make a difference for all of our young girls of today, the character and story of Addie B. Strong is her way of helping our girls focus on their strength and self-worth, instead of more superficial characteristics.
Ms. Flippo grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, and graduated from New Jersey’s Ramapo State College with a degree in business administration. Thereafter she studied at The New School for Social Research in New York City. Prior to her writing career, she spent 20 years as a paralegal at several East Coast law firms where she spent much time writing legal briefs. She currently lives in South Florida with her husband and children, and is working to develop a line of Addie B. Strong books.
Website Address: www.bstrongbrand.com
Thank you for joining us today, Alyson. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I am an only child, married to a wonderful man for almost 20 years, and mom of two amazing children, ages 13 and 4. My second child, a daughter, came as a surprise late in life. Since my firstborn was a boy, I had no experience in raising a girl and was truly petrified by the thought of it. I worried during the entire term of my pregnancy about how she was going to navigate through all of the challenges that come with growing up. I wanted to be able to empower her with the strength and self-worth that I was not able to find until I was well into adulthood. I wanted to make her strong so she would be able combat all of the negative messages she would surely be exposed to. I wanted her to feel comfortable and happy just by being her authentic self.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I started making infant and toddler clothing that had images of this character (now named Addie B. Strong), and having positive messages written on them, like “Spread The Love,” “Move Mountains,” “Defy Gravity.” In selling the clothing I would find myself having long conversations with people about how I wanted to begin empowering our young girls at a very early and impressionable age. After having a hundred or so of these conversations, I realized I had a story to tell and a message to send, and that is when I knew it was time to write.
Why did you decide to write stories for children?
Again, for me it is about reaching out to our kids as early as we can to provide positive messages of self-worth. It is so difficult for them to grow up in this world of unrealistic expectations and impossible requirements that I wanted to start getting these positive messages resonating inside of them as soon as possible.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
No, I believe it is easier. They are not yet judgmental and rigid as adults. They are like little mounds of clay taking on their own unique shape and are so open and honest.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
Being able to inspire and influence someone so young and helping to develop their sense of positive self-esteem is the greatest joy for me.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Addie B. Strong – I Am So Strong is the first in a series. It is about a little girl who discovers that it is not what you have or look like but who you are inside that really counts.
What inspired you to write it?
My own daughter was the original ”inspiration” for the book but really I want to reach out to all of our young children to help them to believe in themselves and be happy with who they are.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
The individual book and book and doll combination package is available at select Learning Express stores, and the individual book will be available at select Books-A-Million locations in the upcoming months. Both products are also available for purchase on Amazon and through our website at www.bstrongbrand.com.
What is up next for you?
I am actually in the midst of writing a second story in the Addie B. Strong series, and am developing a boy character to spin off and give a life of his own.
Do you have anything else to add?
I just wanted to mention that just as Addie is embarking on her journey, this is a journey for me as well. I have waited all my life to do something that I consider meaningful and to contribute something positive and special to the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the strong women who I have met during this venture and who have become involved in helping to spread this message because they truly believe in it. I hope to continue to grow, and, in the words of Addie, “Spread The Love.”
Thank you for spending time with us today, Alyson. We wish you much success.