We had the good fortune of connecting with Hunter Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hunter, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Being visually impaired has made me doubt myself many times during my life. There were moments I was so frustrated being me because of the limitations my eyesight presented. After working with department of blind services they taught me that there never has to be limitations when you’re passionate about something. That’s why I became an author because there is a stigma around disabilities and I knew I couldn’t give up since there is a lot of disabled children out there who need to see themselves represented and with my platform I want to help contribute to that change !

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I illustrated my childrens book along with writing it and it was the most challenging part when it came to creating my book “Will you be my friend? Bunny tales and Mermaid scales”. Digital art was a challenge for me as some days were worse than others when it came to seeing the screen. I use to do art all the time but as I lost more sight it became frustrating. To overcome this, I took great care and time into creating my illustrations. To this day I’m really proud of them as I never thought I’d be able to illustrate a book!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place to explore in Lakeland is Hollis Gardens! It brings me so much peace and joy to sit in quiet and enjoy the senses around me! My favorite place to eat is Cozy oak! I must go there at least once a week. They have the best French toast and bagel sandwiches. My favorite part about Lakeland is how kind the people are. Everyone is so passionate about their craft here and because of that we have a lot of wonderful small businesses that bring so much to the community!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shout out to Department of Blind services and the Lighthouse for the blind in Lakeland for being a strong positive impact in my life and so many others with visual limitations!

Instagram: Hunter_blaise2000

Other: TikTok: Hunter Joan Books on Amazon: “Will you be my friend? Bunny tales and mermaid scales “

Image Credits
Malinda Marie photography Emma Ruby photography

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