Sandra A.Roberts taught high school English for ten years and served as an elementary and high school librarian for six. Now she spends her time providing “Good Touch Day” as a licensed massage therapist and self-published author of children’s books.
Van Buren: What inspired you to write “Good Touch Day”?
Roberts: “Good Touch Day” was created to balance the story regarding “Bad Touch”. Being a massage therapist any time you mention massage to people you see their face turn up and there’s always some sexual connection. So, it was a combination of always having to defend the profession, to help children understand that it’s not always about the fear factor and to bring some respect and beauty to the profession.
Van Buren: What inspired you to write “Come With Me To The Place To Be” ?
Roberts: Just being in love and having a love affair with the library. It’s really a safe place; it’s the womb for me actually. Its that kind of space that provides so many positive memories. From childhood to adulthood nothing’s changed about that feeling. The library has been that one consistent thing that has remained the same.
Van Buren: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Roberts: They’re based on real life more so than imagination. It’s really based on experience. There was intent in making the characters of “Good Touch Day” a black family. A father, who is a therapist, showing that with male therapist’s, it’s such a challenge for them in the field. I wanted children to know that your father, grandfather, and uncle, are capable of [good touch] therapeutic touch. So those characters were intentional more so than imaginative.
Van Buren: Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
Roberts: To become an author has been something I’ve always wanted to do. I still haven’t embraced it yet. I have so much respect for authors. I think as self publishers even though there’s so many of us right now, not going the traditional route in the back of your head you feel like, this isn’t the real thing. It’s that validation.
Van Buren: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Roberts: Zora Neale Hurston. Nikki Grimes, Patricia McKissack are names that immediately come to mind in terms of children’s books.
Van Buren: You’re an educator, a certified massage therapist and you can add author to your belt. Some people have a hard time figuring out one career path. What is your response when people question your career choices?
Roberts: My dad has always teased me about that. I’m very comfortable with change. They say the hardest thing for people to do is change, that is so untrue for me. The hardest thing for me to do is remain the same. I am change. Get with the program. Life is change. You shouldn’t die doing the same damn thing, is what I say to those people.
Van Buren: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Roberts: That loving someone is OK. I never believed in the fairy tale. I always knew Cinderella was a lie. I would tell my younger self that Cinderella can be real. My stories were of women that didn’t fit into traditional roles. I loved Wonder Woman and Laverne & Shirley when I was a child. I didn’t see them with families. They mothered and they protected but they didn’t fit into traditional roles. I would say to my younger self the fairy tale can be true in terms of love. It can be real, so trust it.