HomeNEWSBLACK GIRL MAGICBehind the Scenes: Ebbe Bassey Discusses Balancing Motherhood and Authorship

Behind the Scenes: Ebbe Bassey Discusses Balancing Motherhood and Authorship

Hey there, readers! Welcome to this behind-the-scenes article, where we delve into the incredible life of Ebbe Bassey, as she takes us on a journey of motherhood and authorship.

Ebbe is not your ordinary mom — she’s a force to be reckoned with! In this article we’ll explore how she managed to balance being a mother while pursuing her dream of becoming an author. It’s not an easy feat, let me tell you! But Ebbe’s determination and the unwavering support from her partner, Mark Manczuk, helped her overcome the challenges along the way.

Get ready to be inspired as we dive into the exciting world of Ebbe Bassey and discover her empowering literary masterpiece that has shattered barriers and changed perceptions.

Ebbe Bassey’s literary masterpiece titled “Anoushka’s Extraordinary Heroes” is truly a game-changer. The impact the book which will be available soon for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble is going to make on breaking down barriers and changing perceptions regarding the capabilities of children with disabilities cannot be understated. Through her book, Ebbe beautifully portrays a world where children with disabilities are represented as superheroes, capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.

The power of representation cannot be underestimated. By showcasing diverse characters and highlighting their strengths, Ebbe’s book gives children with disabilities the chance to see themselves as heroes, as the main character in their own stories. It’s empowering, inspiring, and long overdue. Ebbe Bassey’s work has opened doors for conversations about inclusivity and diversity in children’s literature. It challenges the status quo and encourages readers of all backgrounds to embrace the beauty of differences. Her book is not only a literary masterpiece but also a catalyst for change in the publishing industry.

Through her incredible storytelling and captivating illustrations, Ebbe’s book sends a powerful message of acceptance and inclusion. It reminds us all that every child, regardless of ability, deserves to see themselves represented in the stories they read. So, let’s jump right in!

 

Tammy: Without giving too much away, please tell our readers what they can expect?

Ebbe: They can expect to be taken on a journey by my spunky five-year-old, Anoushka who can’t wait to introduce her personal heroes. She wants to bring everyone into a world where limitations are fought, differences are celebrated and, above all, love, respect, and empathy abounds.

Tammy: In what ways do you aspire for this empowering literary masterpiece to make an impact on those who come across it?

Ebbe: In my world and within my Lucky Few community, my daughter is without limits. She is encouraged to aim high. She is told that she is capable of amazing things. Outside of our community, the low expectation is a burden. My aspiration for this book is to break down these barriers, and change these antiquated mindsets and perceptions regarding the capabilities of children like mine and people with disabilities in general. I want people in the neurotypical world to meet neurodivergent people who have accomplished feats that, dare I say most average people have not attained. I know average people who can’t hold down one job, much less two, but James Martin has been a barrister for Starbucks for over 10 years, he is also a chef, and an Academy award winner. He has Down syndrome.

Tammy: When is the official launch date and how will readers be able to obtain the book?

Ebbe: Anoushka’s Extraordinary Heroes became available in e-book on November 28, 2023 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The paperback and hardcover versions became available for pre-order on the same day, with the physical copies being made available on December 12, just in time for the holidays. I am beyond thrilled!

Tammy: How has your journey as an author been for you while being a mother and what are you most excited about?

Ebbe: It was a balancing act as working motherhood is for ALL mothers. I am grateful to have a partner in my hubbyhomielovah, Mark Manczuk who is an incredible artist in his own right. He was extremely supportive and understanding, and my loudest cheerleader. My research and writing would mostly be on the weekend. I would wake up early and head to the gym for my daily dose of endorphins then head to the café while he would take care of Anoushka’s morning routine. 

The illustration was both my scariest and most exciting part of the process. It was important that the subjects were captured accurately, I didn’t want caricatures. It was important that the colors were bright to counter the barrage of negativity that often accompanies the announcement of a Down syndrome diagnosis through the birth of the child [for some people]. I was thrilled when Oliver delivered the first drafts. Initially, I had wanted light, wispy, and airy, but I appreciated that he made the colors rich, deep, and bold. However, I was most excited when Anoushka saw herself. I knew he had nailed it if she recognized herself immediately and she DID! I showed it to her and without any prompting, she hollered…look, mommy…ME…ANOUSHKA, MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Grab a mop, I’m a puddle!!!

Tammy: Were there any challenges along the way? If so, how did you overcome those trying moments?

Ebbe: The devil stays busy, doesn’t he? I got ghosted by two illustrators; I lost a down payment so that was money down the drain. To be fair, I did get illustrations from the second individual but no follow through with the recommended tweaks and no final product. And again, to be fair, said person resided in a country undergoing tremendous geo-political challenges. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a pleasant experience for me while I understood those were not circumstances under their control. Finding an editor was a bit of a challenge as well, some of the quotes I received challenged the zeros in my bank account, however, I was able to find a kind soul in the person of Kaycee Lallatin took mercy upon me. The other thing was self-doubt. Ordinarily, I am a confident person in areas that I consider my wheelhouse. I have written the script for and produced two of my own short films. That said, screenwriting is vastly different from writing a children’s book. And writing for a very specific demographic at that, and one that is largely ignored. So, of course on certain days, I’d say to myself out loud *in my Nigerian patois* Omo, who send you work eh? Who tell you sey you be author, eh? Ha-ha. BUT where is the growth if one chooses to lock down in one’s comfort zone? What’s that saying, there is no growth in a comfort zone, and no comfort in a growth zone? 

I overcame those moments of self-doubt by reminding myself that the story of members of the Down syndrome community is as valid as any stories told about real or fictional characters, probably more so because it isn’t often told, if at all and it needs to be! I also pushed through because I was told by a family member [related by marriage] that my daughter could only aim to be a grocery bagger in life and nothing more. This is one of many reasons I thought a book such as this was necessary. The statement she made would be inappropriate coming from anyone; however, I would expect that possibly from someone much older who might have grown up during a time when people with developmental disabilities were warehoused away from society, but this was directed at me by a person in their early forties. Imagine the cheek of it all. I still shake my head when I think of that occasion.

Tammy: What else would you like our readers to know about you?

Ebbe: Keeping it on a lighter note, I am KARAOKE OBSESSED!!! An utter nutter. Drives my professional musician husband and non-singing friends loco, but I love nothing more than to let my inner Tina Turner out, strut and all. It is my most favorite thing to do. I go alone, when I was single and even now, but my big sister, Ayo Haynes, never lets me down. She is always holding a mic right next to me, just as gloriously batty as ever! I don’t care if nobody wants to go with me, I go alone and I join those of like minds, and we imagine ourselves rock stars, rappers, and R & B divas. YOLO, baby! Heyyy, I could have worse habits, right? The funny thing is, at karaoke bars with predominantly Caucasian people, they expect me to sing R&B, ANNNNNNNNNND I do love singing Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Anita Baker, Jill Scott. However, I LOVE the shock on the frat boy faces when I let rip an accurate rendition of Guns & Roses’ Sweet Child of Mind…..OOOOOOOOOOOOOH it is positively happy making. I remember once my husband told me I couldn’t sing one of Journey’s most challenging songs, Separate Ways. Well, I nailed it. He had to admit that I nailed it….see, happy making.

Tammy: What advice would you have for other moms with dreams of writing a book?

Ebbe: Don’t dream about it, be about it! Be like Nike, JUST DO IT. Not just writing a book, whatever dream it is that is burrowed in your heart, that you speak of in a whisper to yourself, remember that tomorrow is not promised. It would be a shame if you took it with you six feet under where it would serve no purpose. Bless the world, above all DO IT FOR YOU because it brings you joy. Stop rescheduling your joy. I actually have a tee shirt that says just that!

Tammy: What can we be on the lookout for in 2024?

Ebbe: I have another book idea, this time it will be a series featuring my leading lady, Anoushka. BUT FIRST, the next big dream of mine is to bring a walk/fundraiser for Down syndrome to my town. The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) calls its fundraiser, the Buddy Walk and holds its event in New York in Central Park in September ahead of Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The Down Syndrome Association of Connecticut (DSACT) has its Step Up for Down Syndrome in New Britain, CT where it is headquartered in late September. I live in the town of Fairfield, and Fairfield County has many families with Down syndrome. I do not understand why we have never had a similar event here. If they have had one previously, I have not heard of it, and if so, I wonder why it stopped because we are many and active. I do not mind supporting NDSS and DSACT, all for one, one for all, and all of that. I have traveled to be present at both events, but while I am willing to do so, there are families within my town that would appreciate being celebrated where they live. They’d rather travel 5, 10, or 15 minutes to an event rather than 2–3 hours to New York or New Britain.

That said, my goal in 2024 is to establish a walk/fundraiser like the aforementioned events for the Fairfield Down Syndrome community — I want to register the name before publicly presenting it. I am speaking to a graphic designer about a logo; and a lawyer about seeking a 501(c)(3) status. I have vendors who are interested in being present to offer necessary information to families, such as establishing Trusts etc., and businesses interested in donating funds. I am in the process of reaching out to community leaders. I have zero doubt that this endeavor will be successful and remain a consistent part of Fairfield fall celebrations for many years.

Connect on Instagram @ebbebasseyacts and @life_with_anoushka

 

 

Read more lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, and beauty interviews by Tammy Reese@tammyreesemedia.

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