Will Mason lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife, Kate, and their dog, Peyton. Will discovered his love of words when he began writing poetry as an early teenager, and now he writes children’s books, remaining loyal to his rhyming and heart-felt style. After Will received his Masters in Social Work from The University at Buffalo in 2014, he realized the lack of diversity in children’s literature when he was looking for books to use with children in need of representation, and began a mission to use his words to bridge the gap of representation that was sorely lacking.
What led you to becoming a writer?
I have been writing all my life, beginning in middle school, writing poems about life and death. I remember specifically writing one of my first poems, called “Time,” which was my way of coping with my grandfather’s early and sudden death from a heart-attack. I think words and rhymes have always been inside me, but for many years in college and early in my career, I didn’t let them come out. Up until I wrote the first draft for The Boy with the Rainbow Heart, I hadn’t actually thought about my poetry and writing for several years. After writing the book, it was like discovering an old friend that I had completely forgotten, and it has been a complete obsession and passion since.
What motivated you to write children’s books specifically?
I began writing children’s books after I discovered the lack of diversity-themed literature available in the classroom for disadvantaged students in the city school systems. When I was interning at Buffalo Public School #89, as a School Social Worker, I realized that there was a lack of LGBTQ children’s books, which raised my level of concern. That, coupled with the fact that I saw the struggles that my sister, Jessica Mason, experienced as a gay teenager, and the script for The Boy
with the Rainbow Heart sort of just poured out of me one night in my family room – pretty much out of nowhere. But I think the ultimate truth to the reason I am writing children’s books, is because I am a child at heart – sensitive and silly – which I think I’m going to explore more in my writing as I keep thinking of different scripts. I have always had a passion for kids, which prompted me to become a School Social Worker. Even though I am not currently in the classroom or working in the field, writing children’s books is my way of remaining connected to helping children through words.
Why did you decide to focus on the LGBT+ community in your book, The Boy with the Rainbow Heart?
Focusing on the LGBTQ+ community was the goal from the get-go with this series, motivated mostly by experiencing and seeing what my sister went through as a gay teenager. She was bullied in our household, in school, and in society, and as her younger brother, I think that built something inside me that crawled out to share this story with the world. In a big way, this book and the Boy are symbolic of my sister, Jessica.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on?
YES! The Boy with the Rainbow Heart is being turned into a 5-book series, and is being republished by Brandylane Publishing, a publisher based in Virginia. The “Rainbow Heart” series will all have social and life lessons that are learned – with the Boy leading the way through each story. There will be several new characters introduced, and each book in the series will have a “color-theme.” For the first sequel, we will be introducing “The Boy with the Rainbow Heart and the Invasion of Big Angry Red,” which is a story about bullying, friendship and love. This book is scheduled to be released in the Spring of 2020 and I think it will be the perfect time for the world to experience the message.
To purchase The Boy with the Rainbow Heart click here!