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Interview with Anaka Jones, author of the Night Horses

Posted by Brook on March 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Anaka Jones’ debut children’s illustrated book, The Night Horses, tells the story of the secret lives of a group of barn horses and their friends. 

Currently attending the sixth grade at school, she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her family, two dogs (Kona and Bella), a lizard and a frog.  Anaka hopes to be a Marine Biologist/Veterinarian one day.  She loves swimming, learning to scuba dive, playing soccer and reading books.  Her favourite animals include dolphins and whales.  She also loves sharks!


What books were among your childhood favorites and why?

We're Going on a Bear Hunt was my favorite book. It was fun to read.   I like the Corduroy Series very much too.


What are your favorite titles today and why?

The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. It's a mystery and I get very involved.


Did you always want to become a writer?

Yes.  One of my passions has always been to write books!


What encouragement helped you along your way?

My family, my mentor and friend Lauren and my 3rd grade teacher helped me alot along the way.  Lauren was in school when I was in 2nd grade. She was part of a trailblazer program with our Elementary School. She helped me a lot personally, to feel confident and to focus.

Lauren and my mom and dad helped me learn to like school more when I really didn't like school. My 3rd grade teacher helped my confidence grow and was always nice.

My mom and dad encouraged me and helped me to do my book from my early drawings... and have always told me I can do anything I dream of by working hard at it.


Did you face any early challenges to finding success on this path?

Everybody has a few bumps in the road along the way, but I've been very lucky with support from my family and friends.


What was the inspiration for the Night Horses?

All the horses and my teacher at the barn where I learned to ride.


The Night Horses is full of beautiful illustrations. What came first - the images or the words, or did they come together?

They came together. I drew the illustrations starting in 2nd grade.  If you look at the Facebook page, you can see some of the covers over the years. My dad saved the paper versions and did scans of everything over the years.

Then I drew the final crayon/pencil drawings with my mom, and we (my mom and I) sent these along with detailed photos and pictures to the lady we hired to do the pro-versions.  We sent photos of every horse face, feeders, barn, along with the page by page drawings. We chose all the fonts and the placement of the words on the pages and showed examples of the types of illustrations I liked as well.


Do you have any plans to write a new book?

Yes, I am working on a few new books and someday I hope to make movies.  I really hope to do both... more children's books, and also screenplays for movies. I want to make movies too, either as an actress or maybe a director someday.


Thank you for this interview Anaka.


As already mentioned, The Night Horses is a delightful story book with colorful illustrations.  It is sure to be a bedtime book your child will call for again and again.  You can find out more about the Night Horses here.

Categories: Interviews

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