Joan Leotta interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Aug 9, 2017 4:26:55 PM
Joan Leotta interview with David Alan Binder
Bio from Amazon: Joan Leotta, a Pittsburgh native, is an author and story performer. Her books include, Giulia Goes to War, Book One of the Legacy of Honor Series, Tales Through Time: Women of the South, The Complete Guide to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Massachusetts, and others for chldren and adults. She writes fiction, non-fiction (food, travel, profiles) and poetry and enjoys life with her husband in Calabash , NC. with occasional forays to her home of more than 40 years, the Northern VA area,where her daughter still lives. Common threads in all of her writing are food and love of family. Her performances include one woman shows of women in the Civil War and colonial times and folktale stagings that stress understanding among diverse cultures. She loves to teach writing and performing (below).
1. How do you pronounce your name?
"Jone", rhymes with pone—NOT Jo-ann.
2. Where are you currently living?
I live in North Carolina now, but I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and lived most of my life in Washington DC and its Virginia suburbs.
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
The importance of revision and persistence.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
Eclectic. I'm eclectic---some might say scattered, I write in a variety of genres and I have an almost obsessive need to write at all times. At present I have eleven books in print. Four are light romance—women's fiction , historical. The other four are children's picture books. One is a book of poetry and the other is a book of short stories. There is also a children's on-fiction that I did for scholastic. I also write on a regular basis for a local newspaper—mostly food and travel now, but in the past I wrote for business magazines as well.
In addition to working as a writer for the past thirty years I have been a story performer and speaker. I perform folk lore and personal stories and have three one-woman shows where my show presents a woman from history. The three shows include a woman from the Western expansion period (early wagon trains, Oregon Trail; one from the Civil War (a nurse); and, one from the Revolutionary war period.
As a speaker, I am often called upon to speak on the power of words or motivating oneself and increasing overall productivity. I have talks for elementary, middle and high school and for adults in a business setting. I also have a talk on stimulating creativity in children for parent groups
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?
I have four different publishers. Desert Breeze published my Legacy of Honor series. They are based in CA. Communication is all by email.
A publisher in Kentucky, Finishing Line, handled my poetry chapbook. And a publisher in the mid-west, Minneapolis, published my four children's picture books.
The publisher of my collection of short stories went out of business. They gave me the files and I am considering self-publishing those through Amazon.
Scholastic Press published my book, Massachusetts, a work for hire, and Berkshire House published my travel book, Guide to the Shenandoah Valley in 2003 (still in print)
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think people want to handle paper for the most part, but use eBooks as a convenience when traveling.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Persistence. Read the market information on each publisher carefully.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
Join a critique group. Be open to suggestions for revision. Learn to revise your own work.
10. How many books have you written?
Thirteen. Two are works for hire. One is out of print,(a coloring book) and one is still in print from Scholastic and one from Berkshire House. Work for hire means you receive a one-time payment for your work and are not involved in sales. Technically, my collection of short stories is out of print, but people can order copies directly from me until I get it back on Amazon.
11. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I use Facebook, go to indoor fairs and festivals and write articles in magazines that have a relationship with my subject matter.
12. What saying or mantra do you live by?
Encouraging words through pen and performance.
I want my work to entertain and to encourage others to be creative.