By Amy Falkofske, Contributing Writer
Tasha Fuller’s first published work, “It’s Bath Time Baby,” started as a musical nursery rhyme simply intended to keep the Woodbridge resident’s then 3-month-old daughter, Aukema, entertained in the bath. It has since transformed Fuller, an event planner who works from home, into a budding children’s book author.
Though Fuller once remarked to a friend that she wanted to write a book, this new development in her life has still taken her and her family by surprise, she said. “I never envisioned it,” said Fuller of her new book, released a few days before last Thanksgiving. Added her husband, Freddie Fuller II, “It’s still unbelievable to me that I have an author in the house.”
The transformation didn’t happen overnight. Aukema is now 9 years old. As a self-published author, Fuller said that the hardest part of the nine-year publication process was finding an illustrator. Then, a little more than a year ago, the pieces started to fall into place. As part of her event planning and consulting business, Your Go2 Girls, Fuller was hired to plan a wedding. The bride was professional illustrator Christiana Sandoval.
The two soon discovered that in addition to having a common goal of producing children’s books, they are fellow alums of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where Sandoval is based. They knew immediately that they wanted to work together.
“I thought it was a really cute idea … to have this little book that gets kids excited about bath time,” said Sandoval. It was her first illustrated book project, but will not be her last, she said. The two women have developed a friendship and plan to work on future projects together.
Inspired by Family
Fuller credited her mother Hattie Courtney, whom she named as her mentor, for her work ethic. “She’s the epitome of working hard. I couldn’t ask for a better role model,” said Fuller.
She traced her talent for writing, however, to her grandmother, Glenee Sullivan. When Fuller listened to poems written by her grandmother read at the older woman’s funeral, she realized that her own ability to create rhymes ran in the family. From there, Fuller discovered and pursued her interest in writing.
She gets most of her inspiration for subject matter from her children. In addition to Aukema, Fuller and her husband have 4- year-old twins, Freddie III and Amira. Over the years Fuller has created numerous rhymes that she sings to her children about the different things they do throughout the day, such as waking up in the morning or spelling their names, she explained.
Fuller’s children inspire her in other ways as well. “As an African- American, you don’t always find books that reflect what your kids look like. It’s so important for their positive self-image that there are books that they can relate to,” said Fuller. “It’s important for all kids, no matter what race or color, that they have something that looks like them.”
Their influence doesn’t stop there. Fuller enlisted her children in helping her to pick which illustrations would be used for the book. She said that they even passed out postcards at school advertising the release and book signing, which took place Nov. 24 last year in Lake Ridge at the Chinn Park Regional Library. The Woodbridge chapter of Mocha Moms, Inc., of which Fuller is a member and former president, organized the event. The nonprofit organization is a support group for mothers of color who have chosen not to work full-time outside of the home, to devote more time to their families and communities.
Living with Optimism
Fuller said that she believes that faith in God has played a role in her success, adding that she lives her life with an attitude of optimism and gratitude and clings to her faith even during life’s storms.
“It’s all a learning experience,” she explained. “I’ve learned that I’m not superwoman. … If it doesn’t have anything to do with my kids and family, it’s secondary in my life.” Fuller said that being spiritually grounded has helped her realize “that really the most important thing that God gives you is your family.”
Said her friend of 10 years, Vanessa Russell, a television producer and, like Fuller, a work-at-home mom and long-time member of Mocha Moms, Inc., where they met, “We’re so very proud of what she’s doing and how she’s able to show moms that whatever season you’re in in your life, find that moment and own it, whatever that moment is, even if it’s something as simple as bath time with your children. Enjoy that moment. Make it fun for the both of you because you don’t have those moments often. You don’t have them again.”
Asked if future children’s books are in the works, Fuller replied with a resounding yes. Next she plans to turn “It’s Bath Time Baby” into an e-book, she said. There are also plans for a CD to go along with the book, and eventually Fuller would like to turn the songs she sings to her children into a multimedia collection. Another possible book project is about how children interpret such sights and sounds as bumps in the night and scary shadows.
Fuller’s advice for would-be children’s book authors: First find a subject matter and then “Do it!” Fuller said she learned so much about self-publishing that she now plans to incorporate a separate arm of her Your Go2 Girls business to help other authors become self-published.
Her husband said he has no doubt that Fuller will accomplish all her goals. “Typically, when Tasha says she wants to do something, she makes it happen,” he said. She agreed. “I don’t believe in failure,” she said.
“It’s Bath Time Baby” can be purchased at ItsBathTimeBaby.com, where more information can be found on Fuller’s first book.
Amy Falkofske ([email protected]) is a freelance writer as well as the owner/photographer of Beautiful Moments by Amy Photography. She lives in Bristow with her husband and two sons.