What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?
Well, I have always been a writer. Ever since I was a child, I knew the power of words—even before I could actually read and write, I would scribble on papers and fold them into books to “read” to my Mother. Along the way I knew I would have to have some profession. I settled on journalism but when I went to college I shifted my major to international politics and economics—to have something to writer about. Then I made my way into a government career where most of my writing was in reports.
After marriage and two children, I decided to stay home with the children and went back to journalism. freelance, to keep myself “busy” while being able to be at home. I did a lot of business writing and then branched out into my other love—acting—through story performance. There I drafted original tales and scripts and often took my children with me as I performed. I di d not forget about my love of poetry or fiction or essay—just has to suppress that for the business that earned extra dollars.
2 Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above.
I’m general—I write for adults and for children and in all of the genres above. I write poetry, newspaper stories, essays, business articles, short fiction, novels and novellas. The idea sort of picks its own form and heads down a path that lets me know if this is a story for children or for adults or both (young adult and adult or women’s fiction)
3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?
Probably—I am an omnivore. I read fiction, mystery, non-fiction, poetry, news, magazines and more.
4. What's your latest release?
My very latest release is a picture book, Summer in a Bowl, the second is a series of four picture books. Earlier this year by book of short stories, Simply a Smile, was republished by Rebecca Vickery press (the earlier press went out of business). My
5. What are you working on now?
At the present time I am working on publicity and finishing details for the next two picture books—Rosa’s Red Apron and Rosa’s Shell and on publicity for my first poetry chapbook—Languid Lusciousness with Lemon (Languid...with Lemon)
Also, I have regular assignments with the local newspaper (food features of various sorts) and I am always at work on poems, flash fiction and short stories. I have a middle grade that I am struggling with.
6. Where can we find you?
When I am not on my computer, I am in the kitchen or on the beach or sitting on the couch reading a book—in cyberspace you can find me at
www.joanleotta.wordpress.com where you can find out where I am appearing to tell stories, the how and why of writing a picture book, and invite me to come and speak at your school or book club or other group!