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Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman: On Trusting Each Other in the Co-Writing Process

Authors Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman discuss the experience of going from friends to writing partner with their new nonfiction book, Courageous Discomfort.

Shanterra McBride is an author, preacher, speaker, and teacher, and founder of Marvelous University, a social enterprise that offers life coaching and success planning for young people, specializing in leadership development for girls and young women. Her expertise encompasses everything from youth development and youth needs, to diversity and inclusion and allyship. She works with young people of all backgrounds, as well as with adults seeking to become better trusted allies in the lives of the young people they interact with.

Shanterra is the author of Love Your Jiggle: The Girls’ Guide to Being Marvelous, an inspirational book for girls ages 11- 17. Shanterra earned her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. She obtained her bachelor’s degrees from SMU in public affairs & corporate communications and sociology, and was awarded the Profiles in Leadership Award. Follow Shanterra on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman: On Trusting Each Other in the Co-Writing Process

Shanterra McBride (right) and Rosalind Wiseman

Rosalind Wiseman is the co-founder of Cultures of Dignity; an organization that shifts the way communities think about our physical and emotional wellbeing by working in close partnership with the experts of those communities–young people, educators, policy makers, and business and political leaders. She is the author of multiple New York Times Bestselling books including: Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World—the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie and Broadway Musical Mean Girls, and Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, which was awarded Best Parenting Book by Books for a Better Life.

National media regularly depends on Wiseman’s expertise on ethical leadership, conflict, media literacy, youth culture, parenting, and bullying prevention. Wiseman has served on many federal and local advisory boards and speaks throughout the US and abroad. Follow Rosalind on Facebook and Instagram.

In this post, Shanterra and Rosalind discuss the experience of going from friends to writing partner with their new nonfiction book, Courageous Discomfort, how the focus of the book changed in the process, and more!

Name: Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman
Literary agent: James A. Levine
Book title: Courageous Discomfort: How to Have Important, Brave, Life-Changing Conversations About Race and Racism
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release date: September 27, 2022
Genre/category: Nonfiction
Previous titles: By Rosalind Wiseman: Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World; Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World; Distance Learning Playbook for Parents: How to Support Your Child’s Academic, Emotional, and Social Learning in any Setting. By Shanterra McBride: Love Your Jiggle: The Girls Guide To Being Marvelous.
Elevator pitch for the book: For anyone who wants to have better, more productive discussions about race, Courageous Discomfort is an empowering handbook that teaches you how to handle whatever situation you find yourself in with skill, confidence, and dignity. Written by a Black woman and a white woman who are best friends, they are also nationally recognized facilitators, speakers, and thought leaders on education, culture, and community building who are uniquely positioned to bring people together.

Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman: On Trusting Each Other in the Co-Writing Process

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What prompted you to write this book?

What started off as two webinars for us turned into writing a book. We’re friends, so talking to each other about the pain and disappointment happening in our society wasn’t anything new. But shifting from talking about it to adding our voice to the other voices in the room was intentional.

For Shanterra: After watching an exchange between a young white student and a protester, an older Indigenous man at the Lincoln Memorial, all I could think was how I wanted to have a conversation with the student. I wanted to see what he was thinking and feeling. I wanted to talk with him and not judge him.

It was then that I realized that I had been having conversations, mostly with friends who looked like me, about the behavior of white people but that I hadn’t included white people in the conversation except for my close white friends, like Rosalind. I knew I had to do the work I’d been waiting on someone else to do, not because someone told me to do the work or that, as a Black woman, I should be expected to do the work, but because I felt a personal calling to help end systemic racism.

For Rosalind: Over the years, I moved beyond Queen Bees and focused on how to help young people and the adults in their lives treat themselves and others with dignity. Dignity is the guiding principle of my life. Although I have written many books, articles, and curricula that address racism, I never felt I was doing enough, and I knew I was in a position to do more. And because I want to write a book that doesn’t just sit on your bedside table, I want this book to mean something to you and encourage you to have hard conversations and take action in whatever meaningful way you choose.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

Idea from publication, two years. And yes, the idea definitely changed.

Our first thought was to write a book on how to be an ally. But our ideas shifted to how to be brave in the midst of discomfort. Because the questions being asked or what we thought were the questions that needed to be asked, were not just for BIPOC but also questions that needed to be addressed with family and friends and other people who may look like them.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

Publishing a book in the middle of a pandemic is not for the weak! With the uncertainty of printing and shipping especially from overseas it was just a test of patience to see when the book would be published. Learning to wait and wait well. And trusting that the publisher wants this book to be a success as much as we do.

Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman: On Trusting Each Other in the Co-Writing Process

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Writing with someone takes a lot of trust!

We both are hard workers, so the issue was never who was going to work hard. It was trusting that our style and process of writing was different, but that the book would come out beautifully—and it did.

Shanterra was a night owl and Rosalind wrote in the morning and when needed, Shanterra shifted her schedule and Rosalind did the same. Trust and compromise were the two words that kept coming to mind in our process.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

We hope that readers will understand that in the midst of the inequity and inequality and covert and overt disagreements that repair and reconnection are possible. It’s always about repairing our connections with each other and contributing to something larger than ourselves.

Yes, the work is hard and takes courage. But here's the good part. You aren’t alone. There are many people on this journey with you. There are people waiting for you to speak up. Many are waiting for you to simply hold space for them and just see them in this world.

Yes, it will be uncomfortable. But continue to take deep breaths and put one foot in front of the other. Besides, you’re more courageous than afraid of a little discomfort. You have courageous discomfort!

When we compare that to living in fear the only risk is not embracing courageous discomfort. We are needed and capable of creating a world where everyone is treated with dignity.

If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

Say the unspoken thing and keep writing. Because even in the midst of reels and TikTok video and social media overload, folks are still reading!

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