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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK,” children’s book author Charles Roberts III talks about what inspired him to write his new book, There’s Always A Way With Stevie J!

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

www.jjbarnes.co.uk

I interviewed children’s book author Charles Roberts about his writing career, what inspired him to write his new book, There’s Always A Way With Stevie J, and the creative process behind it.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Charles Roberts III on The Table Read
Charles Roberts III

I’m a former freelance journalist and longtime public relations and communications professional. In short: I’ve made my living as a storyteller.

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I am the author of a novella, For the Love of Thomas Amore, which was released in 2016. But the idea for There’s Always a Way with Stevie J came to me during a run in January 2022.

The inspiration for the book, Stevie Johnson, followed me on Twitter after I posted something about a special edition beer he did in partnership with Brickyard Brewing Company in Lewiston, N.Y.

I was out for a run the next night after that tweet and couldn’t stop thinking about Stevie’s “Handle Biz, Have Fun” mantra and how it could translate for kids. So that night, I reached out to him – and he wrote back later that night in support of the idea.

the best creativity magazine in the UK, the best book magazine in the UK, the best arts magazine in the UK, the best entertainment magazine in the UK, the best celebrity magazine in the UK, book marketing UK, book promotion UK, music marketing UK, music promotion UK, film marketing UK, film promotion UK, arts and entertainment magazine, online magazine uk, creativity magazine

When did you take a step to start writing?

The inspiration for the book, former NFL player Stevie Johnson, followed me on Twitter after I posted something about a special edition beer he did in partnership with Brickyard Brewing Company in Lewiston, N.Y. I was out for a run the next night after that tweet and couldn’t stop thinking about Stevie’s “Handle Biz, Have Fun” mantra and how it could translate for kids. So when I got home from my run, I sketched out the idea and reached out to Stevie – who wrote back shortly after in full support.

I began writing immediately that night – and from about 9 p.m. to midnight for the next two weeks. From there, it was a matter of working closely with Stevie to refine the copy and connect with our illustrator, Zack McCabe, to bring the words to life.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

My first book, For the Love of Thomas Amore, was a multiple-year process. But with There’s Always a Way with Stevie J – it was ready for release after just six months!

There's Always A Way With Stevie J! by Charles Roberts III on The Table Read
There’s Always A Way With Stevie J!

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

Six months.

KD Novelties Personalized Books

Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write There’s Always A Way With Stevie J!?

When I first reached out to Stevie, he said, “Man, the universe must be speaking to us! Because I’m already working on a coloring book, so this could be great timing.” I couldn’t help but feel the same way in terms of the way everything lined up – from the beer tweet to the idea sort of hitting me that next day.

I’ve always subscribed to the idea that you’re never really working if you do something you love. And I couldn’t help but feel that in Stevie’s “handle biz, have fun” mantra. It’s sort of a new interpretation of work hard, play hard; it’s more like work hard but have fun while you’re doing it.

What were your biggest challenges with writing There’s Always A Way With Stevie J!?

There weren’t many – if any – challenges. I truly worked hard and had fun doing it!

What was your research process for There’s Always A Way With Stevie J!?

As a former sportswriter and big-time football fan, I had a great deal of familiarity with Stevie, so it was more so a matter of digging back into my mind and reconnecting with him.

How did you plan the structure of There’s Always A Way With Stevie J!?

Charles Roberts III and Stevie Johnson on The Table Read
Charles Roberts III and Stevie Johnson

Stevie’s low point in his career – a dropped would-be game-winning pass – had to be my turning point. So I knew before I started writing that everything would build to that as the climax. From there, it was a matter of getting my main points on paper.

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Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did There’s Always A Way With Stevie J! need?

I did not seek any outside resources beyond those supplied by the publisher.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Write! Even if you are tired or feel like your ideas aren’t fully formed – just get something on paper. It could be as simple as a couple of sentences. You have to start somewhere.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

There’s Always a Way with Stevie J is the first of many planned children’s books featuring NFL players, with discussions underway with a few of Stevie’s former teammates and friends around the NFL.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Our message is not just about hard work and having fun; it’s also about daring to be different and overcoming obstacles. If we can make a difference in the life of one kid – or even a change in mindset for a parent who’s reading to his or her child – we’ll have done our jobs. I’m proud to get this off the ground, but I’ll be even more proud when I see a smiling face and know we’ve made a difference in some way.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

@CR3_Author (Twitter)
@hartleyroberts (IG)
charleshroberts.com (personal website)

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