Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Award-winning author Jewel Kats Inspires New Archie Character Harper

by Cyrus Webb

If you don't believe that dreams can come true you definitely need to be introduced to Toronto native and award-winning author Jewel Kats. I was introduced to the author and disability advocate through Victor R. Volkman, the founder of Loving Healing Press and the publisher of several of her titles. Katz was involved in a car accident as a child that changed her life, but didn't take away her desire to change the world.

After reading a few of her titles I had the opportunity to interview her for Conversations LIVE, and it was an inspiring discussion that led me to this theme: nothing is impossible when you live life without impossibilities.

Today additional proof of that has shown itself for the inspiring author as she is now celebrating another milestone: inspiring a character for Archie Comics named Harper!

Archie #656 available Wednesday, June 18th among other places on Google Play introduces Harper (cousin to socialite Veronica Lodge), to Riverdale and readers around the world. Her arrival marks the first time a character with a disability has been featured in the popular series. Like the author who inspired her, Harper does have a disability, but it does not define her.

"I never think of you as a girl with a disability," Veronica says to Harper in the new issue. Harper's response? "My disability is a part of me! I wouldn't change it in a flash. I love my disability because it makes me think outside the box!"

Thinking outside the box is EXACTLY why Jewel Kats has been able to achieve all that she has.

She told me that it's been an amazing experience to have individuals read her work and get the messages she has included. "That's exactly what I wanted to do," she says.

She told me she didn't know she wanted to be a writer until her twenties, and after some changes in her personal life it was a conversation with her mother that set things in motion. "My mom asked what I wanted to do with my life," she recalls. "I told her I wanted to write books for children." The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then she has written books like Reena's Bollywood Dream: A Story about Sexual Abuse,  Cinderella's Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale and Teddy Bear Princess: A Story About Sharing and Caring: all of which are entertaining, yet provide important lessons for readers of all ages.

Thanks to the internet, Jewel is able to reach individuals around the world, something that she doesn't take lightly. "You never think you can touch people through a keyboard and your thoughts," she told me. "It's so humbling to know you are making a difference through your words."

That difference she is making also comes from her personal love of the craft. "Writing is a burning desire," Jewel explained. "I can't go a day without writing. I'm constantly flooded with ideas. Writing is in my blood. It's what I do...What I want to do."

One of the ways the author and advocate is sharing her gift is through the new book inspired by her own life. DitzAbled Princess: A Comical Diary Inspired by Real Life shows you a woman who is not only a fighter but an individual that knows how NOT to take herself too seriously. What a great lesson for all of us.

Because she has done so much I asked Jewel what advice she has for others when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams. "We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow," she said, "so you have to make the most of today. Keep trying. Look inside yourself.  If you have a dream then follow it."

Make sure to stay in touch with everything Jewel at her website Get the new issue of Archie featuring the character Harper on Google Play here.

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