Who I Am and What I Do

My first serious venture into writing was at age four, when I wrote a love letter to a little boy named Timmy. Several years later, I submitted my short story, "Palettes and Brushes", to Jack and Jill Magazine.

Today, I joke that writing takes me inside myself, the other arts take me outside myself, and together they keep me sane. But I'm actually not joking. Because when I was growing up, I was an observer who didn't fit in. So I thought something was wrong with me. Writing, books, and all of the arts helped make sense of life.

Now, if I were ever stranded alone on a desert island? I would write on cave walls with a rock, sing to the moon, and dance by the thunder of the waves. Now, I seek to be the voice I was looking for when I was growing up, so the lessons I learned can help others find the gifts in their differences . . . and believe in themselves and their dreams. It's why I'm so excited to be bringing you Ballad, The Light Follower (Book 1) . . . a seventeen-year-old Light Follower and visionary,  whose "voice" suddenly started pouring out of my pen one day, before I even knew "he" existed. And why I can't wait to "hear" more of what he shares with me . . . so that Ballad and I can share everything with you.

As I tell in My Love Affair with Manhattan (Vignettes of a Life in the City), I'm originally from Iowa, but moved to Chicago . . . then to New York because, "I felt like my soul had always lived there, and my body needed to catch up."

I thought I was home forever. But after six and a half years, my beautiful family drew me to Los Angeles where. . . . ironically and magically . . . my soul has always lived as well. And where magnetically, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (that I'd belonged to as a new mother, in Iowa) was just two blocks from my first apartment.

 -  Joanie