May 13, 2013
By Clare Marie Celano
Taylor-Alexis Barber has just published her first book.
She’s already making rounds doing local radio and cable interviews in her hometown of Rock Hill, SC, and in Charlotte, NC, and she’s already had her first book signing. She’s currently working on a second book.
By the way, Taylor is just 10 years old.
Taylor, a fifth-grade student at Mount Gallant Elementary School, is the daughter of Greater Media Charlotte Controller Twan Barber.
The youngster penned the book “Tales of Riley the Mouse” when she was 8 years old. The book features six characters, who are mice, with “Riley” as the main character. “Riley” is an “elementary school age” mouse.
The mice live like humans do, according to the youngster, and experience many of the struggles and have to deal with many of the issues that children have in their daily lives, such as bullying, moving to a new town, starting a new school, adoption of another child, a first crush, or being the youngest or the baby in the family.
Riley also comes from a family of 18, counting his parents and himself.
In an interview with Taylor’s dad (who has nine brothers and two sisters), Twan explained that his daughter, who has always had a passion for reading, expanded that passion into a love of writing as well.
“She told her mom and me that she was going to write a book. She said that there was a need for more chapter books for third- and fourth-graders,” Twan said.
Encouraged by her third-grade teacher, Rhonda Logan, Taylor set out to bring her idea to reality.
“She hand-wrote the book during the summer between third and fourth grade,” Twan said.
Twan said the original draft of the book was handwritten in a loose-leaf notebook that Taylor carried around everywhere as she worked on her book.
“She was constantly writing. When she was done, she stapled it together in book form,” he said.
Twan said that Taylor is the younger of the couple’s two children. Her sister Tiffany is 13 years old. The 10-year-old has some knowledge of what it feels like to be the baby in the family.
Twan said his wife works as a child and family therapist and works with many children in foster care, so Taylor also is aware of the plight and struggles of youngsters in that situation.
“When she brought us the finished product, we were very surprised at the level of detail in her book,” Twan said.
They decided to take it to a publisher. Taylor had her own conceptual design of how she wanted her characters to be portrayed.
When the first draft of her characters came back from the illustrator, the mice were not clothed. This was not suitable to Taylor. Taylor, who is a student in a Gifted and Talented program and who also takes accelerated reading classes, knew what she wanted for her characters.
They had to be dressed as school-aged “humans” with glasses and everything else a child would have. She worked both with the illustrator, Kathy Kerber, and the publisher, AuthorHouse, and they sent her drafts until they met with her approval.
AuthorHouse arranged marketing and worked very well with Taylor, according to Twan. Taylor has done several radio and television interviews, at her school and at home, and has an upcoming book signing at a local mall.
Taylor has also been asked by the Rock Hill School District to appear at its next school board meeting to discuss her book and give the welcome.
“It’s all very exciting,” Twan said, adding that he and his wife are very proud of their little girl.
Taylor is currently working on her second book in the series of her mice characters. This book will feature Brianna, who is Riley’s girlfriend in the first book.
“We hope she continues her writing,” Twan said.
Being a novelist may not be a long-term goal for the youngster, who told her dad she wants to be a Supreme Court justice.
In a conversation with the young author, Taylor said she is busy working on her second book and has not decided how many books she will write for the series.
She is very excited and even a bit overwhelmed with all the attention her book is getting. When asked if she was nervous when being interviewed, she admitted to being a bit nervous during her first interview. She’s getting the hang of it at this point, however.
So what do her friends think of her success and her budding writing career so far? In Taylor’s own words, “They think it’s really cool.”
Twan has worked as controller for WBT-AM/FM and WLNK-FM radio since March 2006. He has worked as controller in various industries for almost 20 years and says there is no better industry to work in than radio.
“This has been a fun experience, and I have had the opportunity to work with great people,” Twan says of his time at Greater Media. “My team of Karen Davis and Louie Mills are the best I have worked with, which makes my life at work really simple. I feel that over the past seven years I have had the opportunity to work with the best radio has to offer, from sales to traffic/production to marketing and programming and definitely technical! Needless to say, I love what I do and I like my work family even more.”
“Tales of Riley the Mouse” is available from AuthorHouse at www.authorhouse.com.
It may also be ordered through your local bookseller and on many online sites such Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
April 26, 2013
Greater Media Newspapers is celebrating its milestone 20th year as the publisher of the Examiner and the North/South Brunswick Sentinel.
The two papers joined the Greater Media array of free-distribution weekly publications in 1993 as part of a strategic move to expand business in Middlesex and Monmouth counties, according to former Executive Editor Greg Bean, who continues to write a highly read weekly column that runs in all of the Greater Media newspapers.
The inclusion of the two papers was part of a growth spurt under Bean and the newspapers’ other leadership, moving from a circulation of less than 100,000 to more than 250,000 today.
“[The two new papers] basically helped double the size of the company,” Bean said. “Our use of total market circulation (where an issue is delivered to every home in a certain ZIP code) provided our advertisers with a way to get to every home in a targeted ZIP code. It greatly increased the company’s attractiveness for advertisers.”
North Brunswick and South Brunswick are towns in western Middlesex County, New Jersey, located halfway between Princeton University and Rutgers University. Census data from 2010 puts the population at more than 40,000 for each town.
“The demographic and income levels were good, and both communities were very vibrant,” Bean said. “We thought that they would make a good addition to the East Brunswick Sentinel [which covers the nearby towns of East Brunswick, Jamesburg, South River, Spotswood, Helmetta, Monroe Township and Milltown] and the Suburban [which covers the eastern Middlesex County towns of Sayreville, South Amboy and Old Bridge]. We wanted to add on to our strongest publications.”
The paper, which combines North and South Brunswick into one weekly issue, used to have separate editions for each town but later consolidated.
The Examiner, which covers Millstone, Roosevelt, Allentown and Upper Freehold in Monmouth County, was founded for similar reasons in similar circumstances, according to Bean.
“The area served by the Examiner is a really desirable demographic area … and it was believed that advertisers from adjacent coverage areas would want to add that circulation onto their advertising to reach those people,” Bean said.
Reception for the Examiner in particular was very strong in those communities, and Bean noted that the paper developed a very loyal following.
“The editors who worked with the Examiner really came to love the paper and the area and have a real interest in seeing it succeed,” Bean said.
“I think the Examiner developed one of the most loyal followings of any of our papers, part of which is because it covers such a wonderful area.”
Bean said that all the communities covered by both papers were “very happy” to have their own local newspaper provided by Greater Media.
“People are very happy to have these papers in their communities,” Bean said. “We always strive to put out the best paper we could possibly put out.”