Behind the Book: Clarissa Burton

As of 2016, only 22 percent of authors are African American. #crazyhuh

While we’ve come a long way from a decade ago were African Americans only made up 9 percent, we still have far to go. Luckily, Millennials like you and I aren’t afraid of breaking barriers and making history.

Meet Clarissa Burton, who is doing exactly that.

She comes from Little Rock, Arkansas and is now a Dallas native and self-published author of Just Too Young.

Read on to learn how Clarissa got started as a writer and how she’s determined to motivate, educate, and inspire the youth of today.

Tell me about your current career?

I am currently a Transition Coordinator at a Charter High School in Fort Worth, Texas. My role is to provide every graduating student with an individualized plan towards the career path of their choice, whether it be College/Trade School, Workforce, or joining the Armed Forces. Students begin working on completing the necessary steps to get to their desired destination in the 9th grade. I also Coordinate all school events related to post-graduation, such as College & Career Fairs, College Tours, Internships, Military Interest Days, Career Tours, and Financial Aid Seminars.

What made you want to be an author?

I desired to be an author because I knew I had a calling to help youth make better decisions than those before them. I feel as if there is a duty for me to warn and instruct them about the decisions they are making now and how it can affect their future. During the writing process, it honestly felt amazing to be able to inspire them to dream big and to be wise in their decision making.

What is Just Too Young about?

Just Too Young is a transformative guide to help teens navigate through a society influenced by pop culture, instant gratification, and reckless dating. The idea behind “Just Too Young,” is to change what it means to be young when it comes to love, friendships, and future aspirations. Many teens have heard, “Oh you’re just too young to understand, you’re just too young to be in love,” and the list goes on. So instead, readers are asked to journey with the author as she changes being “too young” into something positive and inspiring.

What are some future goals for you as a self-published writer?

My future goals are to reach as many teens as possible through my writing. I also desire to see Just Too Young being used in small groups, youth ministries, and other organizations that promote youth engagement and empowerment.

What advice would you give to young writers?

I would advise young writers to write as much as possible but also read as much as possible. Writing can be very frustrating at times, but reading the work of others will inspire you and also help you spot mistakes that you may be making in your own writing. I say write as much as possible because the more you practice, the more comfortable you become with the process. This can be short inspirational posts on social media, essays for classwork, or creating daily journal entries as well.

What impact are you hoping to make on the Black Millennial community?

I am hoping to inspire black youth specifically to go beyond the limits of those before them. They may have to be the first in their family to do certain things, but that’s an honor, and they should embrace it. There are things they will encounter but will need to act differently if they want a different result. I want to empower them to believe they can achieve more than what the world says and the only thing that can stop them from being great is them.

You can purchase Just Too Young on Amazon.com or read it on Kindle.

photo credit: AngelaMiklosPhotography

Written by Tolu Adebimpe