When I first read Joana’s picture book, I couldn’t stop giggling. I instantly saw the book and the art in my head. I knew I had to see more! And since joining the team, Joana has fit in perfectly. I would swear we had been working together for years and not months. So to all those years to come! -Natascha Morris
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I’ve learned that ideas are everywhere, and you must keep your eyes (nose and ears) open at all times. So, I’m always on the lookout and ready to take notes. Once I have an idea that excites me, I’ll let it simmer for a few days before writing it down. When I get started, I think I know exactly how the story will go, but I’m always wrong. So far, I’ve never had a story end the way I originally planned and, honestly, those little, sometimes huge, surprises are the best part about being a writer.
Most of my writing life happens between 9am and 2pm. That’s when I have the house to myself. I write in my office, but when my kids are home you’ll most likely find me working on my kitchen table. I try to read, write and revise every day, but I don’t worry about splitting those hours evenly. Some days I might read for two hours, write for fifteen minutes and revise for another hour. It all depends on my priorities that day.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
I like having the TV on while I work because of the movement. I keep it muted, so it won’t distract me.
If I’m feeling stuck and uninspired, I’ll go to the library. If that doesn’t help, I’ll do something completely unrelated to my writing, like organizing a closet, watching a movie or baking.
What do you love about writing picture books?
The whole process. Searching for ideas, and then researching them. Writing down the (horrible) first draft, and then revising again and again, until it’s as polished as possible.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
Because of my children. They were the ones who (re)introduced me to picture books. I loved seeing their reaction to every book we read, and it made me want to write books and cause reactions too.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Driving my kids around, helping with homework, or cleaning. On my free time, you’d either catch me watching a TV show with my family, or dancing.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
You can follow me on twitter @jopastro and find out more about me at joanapastro.com
What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?
I saw this on Ann Whitford Paul’s WRITING PICTURE BOOKS. I simply love this image. “There is no better feeling to me than writing. I love to make a picture come to life and dance under my pen.” – Lolita Prince
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I’m thrilled to join the BookEnds family, and super excited about working with Natascha, and being part of her amazing team.
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
So many. I’ll narrow it down to two.
Machado de Assis, a Brazilian author from the nineteenth century. He was one of the classic authors we had to read in school, and the one I truly enjoyed. He wrote about society and relationships, with irony, unique humor, and in a way still relevant today.
And of course, J.K. Rowling. I’m in awe of her imagination and how she doesn’t shy away from expressing her opinions.