Name Joan Y. Edwards
Where are you from?
Born in Wilson, North Carolina
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education in 1963 from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
In 1978, I received a Master in Intermediate Language Arts from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
I taught elementary school for 35 years in North Carolina: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Onc summer, I taught ninth grade English.
I have two daughters. Two grandsons: 2nd grade and 4th grades; Two granddaughters: 8th grade and junior in high school.
My husband, Carl, has one daughter and one granddaughter, 23 and one grandson, a senior in high school.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed the cover for Flip Flap Floodle. It was the first book I wrote and illustrated. I self-published it after 36 years of rejection by publishers.
Picture Book for Ages 4-8
Flip Flap Floodle is a happy little duck who believes his song will save him from Mr. Fox. Will his Mother find Flip in time to rescue him when Mr. Fox does not like his song and swallows him whole?
I received the book cover for Joan’s Elder Care Guide. Aidana WillowRaven designed the cover. She used photos of my mother for it.
“Joan’s Elder Care Guide” It empowers you, the caregiver, to meet your elder’s needs and yours at the same time to help you both survive. Its tips are based on 14 years experience in caring for her mother and additional research. It tells how to find the right place for your elder to live, the benefits of daily schedules and routines, ways to communicate effectively, and has tips to organize medical, financial, and legal documents. It shows that caregivers need regular time away from the responsibility of caregiving and that substitute caregivers need detailed plans. It helps you recognize the signs of the end of life, and gives ways to celebrate the life of your elder. It has fill-in charts and forms.
February 11, 2015 I signed a contract from Ravenswood Publishing for a chapter book called, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey. Its release date is 2015. I will illustrate it, too. Here’s the draft book cover I created for it.
Larry, the Terrifying Turkey, Chapter Book
Scarred by her mother’s pet turkey and taunted by her third grade classmates, Sara Brown searches for a way to get back at him. Will she face the turkey square in the gobbler or will her parents ground her until she is twenty-one when she wrecks her mother’s new car?
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was a junior in high school I entered an “I Speak for Democracy” contest. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, Lorrie, an unquenchable thirst began to get Flip Flap Floodle published as a picture book. I told this story since I was five years old to everyone who would listen.
In 1976 I embarked on my Master’s Degree in Middle Grade Language Arts. I studied the literary works that won the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Awards.
In 1987 I was chosen to participate in the NC Writing Project for teachers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The primary goal of the project was to improve student writing achievement by improving the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools.
In 1993: “The Golden Arm” won 2nd Place in Creative Writing Contest, International Level, Parents Without Partners.
Like many writers, it took a long time for the fact that I was a good writer to sink into my very soul. Sometimes we wait for a publisher and readers to declare this truth. Many great writers never realize that they are good writers.
However, the minute you notice it, it is extremely important to let children and/or adults know that they have a gift for writing or other talents.
After I self-published Flip Flap Floodle in 2004, I still wasn’t sure I was a good writer.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Here are my projects in order of their importance to me:
- Joan’s Elder Care Guide I am now finishing the editing process with 4RV Publishing.
- Larry, the Terrifying Turkey under contract with Ravenswood Publishing.
- Immigrant Heart – Young Adult, novel
- Against the Odds – Young Adult, movie/screenplay
- The Perfect Couple – Adults, Movie/Screenplay
- Aunt Sophie’s Biscuits – Picture book or Chapter Book
- The Day I Turned My Brother into a Monkey, Chapter Book
- Flip Flap Floodle Becomes a Big Star, Picture Book
Fiona: Are experiences in your books based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of my books were inspired by my true life experiences:
- caring for Mother;
- being frightened and scratched by a turkey
- being upset when I heard and saw an a museum in Colorado how Italian immigrants were treated in 1901.
- Being upset about the number of abortions and the way people treat their teenagers who get pregnant.
- Humor of how a couple can seem to be perfect to others but have real problems in their marriage
- I really had an Aunt Sophie who made delicious, mouth-watering biscuits
- There were a few times in my life when I wished I could turn my brother into a monkey,
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Dr. Seuss, for fun and frolic.
Dr. Robert Shuler, for information to help you survive.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jennifer Larson’s book, Lost Soles.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Two things I find challenging:
- Writing a great selling pitch before you write the book and revising it to submit it.
- The editing process for non-fiction books.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite author. I love many authors. Here are my top ten books:
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
- Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do by Robert Schuller.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- What You Think of Me Is None of My Business by Terry Cole-Whittaker
- The Sedona Method and CDs by Hale Dwoskin
- Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
- Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
- Secret by Rhonda Byrne (and movie)
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, not literally. However, I travel through the internet to check facts, circumstances and times. I did drive to New York City to visit Ellis Island to check my facts in Immigrant Heart.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Believe in you. Submit your work. Never Give Up. I founded Pub Subbers to help encourage and inspire writers to submit their work often. On my blog I list the steps for getting your materials ready for submission. https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/pubsubbers/
Before you get started, here are two posts on my blog to help you find a publisher or an agent:
Week 1 Choose an editor, agent, or contest.
Week 2 Follow their guidelines.
Week 3 Time to Submit to agent, editor, contest, critique group, or professional editor
Week 4 Write, Revise, Critique, Live, Educate, Motivate, and Celebrate
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Never Give Up. Celebrate you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
When I was four years old, I read the newspaper, according to my mother. I read the Scott-Foresman Dick and Jane series in school. I remember reading Little Women and The Bobbsey Twins. I loved the Bobbsey Twins. I also read Grimm’s and Andersen’s fairy tale anthologies.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A sad story makes me cry.
I laugh many times when at situations that are ironic; not the way the character planned for them to turn out. For instance, my husband had a flat tire.
I asked him, “How did it happen?
He said, “The air went out of it.”
That cracked me up. I laughed and laughed. That was not the answer I expected.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would like to meet and why?
I would like to meet Steve Harvey because he does everything in his power to help young black boys who might not have had a good role model go to a camp and experience being in the presence of good role models and learn skills that will help them be successful.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Joan Meyer York Edwards, loving sister, wife, mother, teacher, and friend.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Sewing; Going to movies; working crossword puzzles.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite TV Shows are detective shows: Law and Order, Columbo, and Monk
My favorite genre for movies is Comedy Romance: Legally Blonde, While You Were Sleeping, and The Proposal
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favorite foods are Hamburgers; Spaghetti; Tacos with lettuce, tomato, hamburger meat with Taco spices, sharp shredded cheese
My favorite colors are turquoise, teal, and medium blue.
My favorite music is from the fifties – known as Doo Wop:
- All I Have to Do Is Dream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbU3zdAgiX8
- Lollipop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-DuC0tE7V4
- I’m the Great Pretender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1oJuwkXr0E
- All My Tears https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJQNbxAbkPg
- Amen (written by Jester Hairston from Lilies of the Field) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn6w255CGkk
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
My first love was teaching. I love to see the light arise in someone’s eyes when they understand a new idea. I love taking pictures. I also enjoy creative art: sewing, pottery, crocheting, illustrating, graphics.
I worked as a secretary in the Pentagon. I also loved answering phones as a receptionist. So if I didn’t write or teach, I would be a receptionist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website, www.joanyedwards.com, has over 150 devotionals, wordsearch and crossword puzzles; one for each Sunday in the liturgical years, A, B, and C. It has over 20 skits. It also lists my books and blog.
My Never Give Up Blog, www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com, has articles to inspire and motivate people to keep on going. It is full of tips for writing and perseverance in life. It has over 200,000 views.
I’ll give a free critique of 1000 words to one lucky person who leaves a comment on her blog by midnight March 5, 2015. Random.org will choose the winner. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, March 6, 2015 on this blog comment area