Chandra Sparks Splond
Chandra Sparks Splond is the author of five young adult fiction books. Her latest book, He’s Got Game, was published in August. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
Chandra Sparks Splond is surrounded by young adults every day in her job at Samford University, and she still likes them enough to write about them when she gets home.
“I like being able to show those positive stories. I don’t have perfect kids in my book. They make mistakes, they do things that maybe stop them in their tracks sometimes, but they get back up,” Splond, the university’s director of content marketing, said.
The writing bug hit Splond when she was 10 years old, and she decided to write novels when she was 14. She still remembers sitting in a high school math class and thinking if she wanted to be an author, she’d need a fancier signature.
“I think then it kind of gelled in my mind, ‘OK, I want to write books.’ It just kind of grew from there,” Splond said.
She completed her first book at age 33 by waking up early to write before her infant daughter, Jessica, was awake. That first book was never published, but with it Splond completed a lifelong dream and set an example for her daughter.
“I always wanted to be the type of parent who, rather than telling my daughter she could do whatever she wanted to do, I wanted to be able to show her,” Splond said.
In 2007, Splond got a book deal for Spin It Like That, a novel about a 16-year-old girl pursuing a career as a DJ. Her later books include a two-part series about teens dealing with abstinence issues and The Greatest Gift of All, which she wrote because Jessica, now 10 years old, had begged to read one of her mother’s stories.
The main characters in Splond’s books are African-American because she feels they are underrepresented in popular young adult fiction.
Her latest book, He’s Got Game, was published in August and is about a teenage boy trying to be the first in his family to graduate college. Splond said that for a long time she wouldn’t consider writing from a male perspective because of the old adage, “Write what you know.”
“I started asking myself, ‘Well, why would you not want to do that?’” Splond said. “I didn’t know about being a DJ either but I researched it. So that’s what made me decide to do that.”
Through research, studying people and “a lot of prayer,” Splond developed a voice for her male main character. In some ways, it was easier than she expected.
“They’re different from girls but then they’re not different from girls. They still want love, they want acceptance, they want the same things all human beings want,” Splond said. “So that’s the common thread.”
Spin It Like That will always hold a special place in Splond’s heart, but all five of her books are dear to her. Splond said she gets just as excited now when she sees her book in print as she did the first time.
“It hasn’t changed. It’s still like, ‘Wow, I actually did this,’” Splond said.
Splond’s books are available on Amazon.com, some under the name Chandra Sparks Taylor. She has a sixth book in the works, which will be about a teenage girl trying to make it in the world of fashion and modeling. Splond said she feels lucky that she has been able to pursue her passion and be successful.
“Knowing that I’ve had this dream since I was a little girl and being able to see it actually come to fruition is still very overwhelming and very humbling for me,” Splond said. “A lot of people have dreams and for whatever reason they don’t come to pass. I’m just living proof that your dreams can come true no matter how old or young you are.”