As a published author, freelance writer, educator, and tutor, Kyandreia Jones wears many hats. Kyandreia is a Posse Miami Scholar and Graduate from Hamilton College where she received her B.A. in Creative Writing. She was born and raised in South Florida. Kyandreia’s poetry and prose have been published in various college literary publications such as The Black List Journal and The Underground. She is also the author of two children’s books: Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: James Armistead Lafayette (2019) and Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: Mary Bowser (2020). Kyandreia continues her career as a freelance writer, educator, and visiting author. Kyandreia has recently begun screenwriting in the hopes of writing for film and television.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized that I wanted to be a writer in the fourth grade. When I learned to write expository, narrative, and persuasive essays, I tried applying those same techniques to writing my own stories. Once I realized that I could use the tools I acquired in class to write my own short stories and books, I wrote like my life depended on it. However, I ignored my desire to write and flirted with the idea of becoming a veterinarian and a Zoologist. I didn’t think that being a writer was a possibility until the fall of 2017. In 2017, I connected with Choose Your Own Adventure® Associate Publisher Melissa Bounty about writing a book for their SPIES series.
What are you most passionate about writing?
I am most passionate about bringing diverse, funny, and thought-provoking stories to kids and adults. I love telling stories and connecting with others through the art of storytelling. We are all more alike than we think. Sometimes it just takes a good story to remind us of our similarities and that these shared values, experiences, and passions are strong enough to bridge superficial divides.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book when I was in seventh grade. I was around 13 years old. The book was about a girl named Torey who goes on a mission to save her kidnapped foster dad with her older, foster brother Nick. This book became a trilogy that I completed in tenth grade. I published my first book Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: James Armistead Lafayette at the age of 22. When asked to write a Choose Your Own Adventure® book about real spies from American History, I was particularly captivated by James Armistead Lafayette’s story because it was a tale that I would have loved as a child. I did not know that there were real-life heroes whose stories teach children and adults alike about loyalty, liberty, and, most importantly, empathy. I would have been thrilled to learn about James, a former enslaved person turned spy, who helped America win its independence while his fellow brothers and sisters remained in bondage.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
After writing Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: James Armistead Lafayette and Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: Mary Bowser, I learned that kids are ready for the big stories. They are ready to talk about empathy, kindness, and resilience. They are ready to discuss the topics of race, country, and what it takes to become a good human. They are ready to make impactful, informed choices if allowed to explore different possibilities and adventures. I was both inspired and surprised to discover this truth about today’s children.
What do you think makes a good story?
Honesty makes a good story. I ran hurdles in Track and Field. I perform Spoken Word Poetry. I am a good listener. I love laughing at my own ridiculous jokes until my friends slap their foreheads…So my stories have track stars/ athletes and great public speakers and characters who listen and jokes that make readers giggle and snort and slap their foreheads…Lean into what makes you interesting, unique, beautiful, strong, smart…Your stories will thank you for it.
What has been your experience writing for 2ozmag?
I started writing for 2ozmag because I wanted a job that took me out of my comfort zone. I am an introvert, so I always experience anxiety when I talk to new people and face new experiences. I also don’t drink alcohol, and I enjoyed the irony of writing for a bar magazine. The opportunity to improve my interpersonal skills and to interview passionate people excited me. I could not have imagined how thrilling and fulfilling my new role would become. Working alongside Helena Jose and watching her vision come alive has been an inspiration and a testament to what women can accomplish when left to their own devices. Helena pushes me to become a better writer, interviewer, and collaborator. She also encourages me to pursue all my passions and bring my best self to each project. I have also been incredibly moved by the bartenders, sommeliers, entrepreneurs, and other hospitality professionals that I have had the pleasure of meeting virtually. At 24 years old, I am excited about knowing so many cool, friendly, and driven people in my own backyard.
What are your goals?
My professional goals begin in the Publishing Industry and extend into the Film and Television industry. I plan on publishing a new book every year or every other year. I also aim to find a director to produce some of the short screenplays that I have written so I can bolster my portfolio for graduate school/my filmmaking career. My biggest goal is to write and sell a feature film by 2024. I also plan to continue to write and educate. My personal goals are to take care of my physical and mental health, to find a balance between pursuing my passion and obtaining financial independence, and to promote universal kindness.
Where can we get your books?
Shop locally at Books and Books:
My books are also available on Amazon and cyoa.com.
Where can we follow your journey?
You may follow me on Instagram at @kyandreiajones.
What’s your message to all women for International Women’s day?
You are capable of greatness and your success is inevitable. I am constantly inspired and empowered by women and all that we accomplish despite the barriers in front of us. Our strength, our resilience, and our grace ensure the actualization of our goals and the fulfillment of our purposes. Whether in high heels, combat boots, or sneakers, go forth in the direction of your dreams with confidence and excitement.