Joan Robb worked professionally as a singer/songwriter and as a theater director/playwright for decades before turning to writing picture books and most recently, a YA novel. She founded and toured with the musical group Caribbean for Kids and also was founder/director of the Youth Theater of Stanley Park, Westfield, Massachusetts. In the last several years she has shifted gears. Her first picture book, THERE’S A PRINCESS IN MY LIVING ROOM, was published in 2012. She was recently interviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos
Why did you become a writer?
My nature is to always have a creative project in the works, otherwise, I feel as though a piece is missing in my life. I love making my mind go to imaginary places! It’s great brain work to think sequentially. When I write I think: “What should happen first? Then what? Then What? Resolution…
What is the most rewarding part of being a writer? The most frustrating?
The most rewarding part of being a writer is coming up with a sentence, paragraph, or dialogue that you absolutely love! The most frustrating part is spending hours writing just to realize that what you’ve written is lousy or that it doesn’t make sense to the reader (or you, the writer)!
Can you tell us about your latest release?
My latest release is a picture book entitled There’s A Princess In My Living Room. The theme of this book is geared more for girls and it’s about enjoying not having to look perfect or act perfect all the time. That it’s fun to be messy and dirty and, that’s part of being a kid!
What inspired it?
I wish I knew what the inspiration behind this book. Many ideas just come to me as a passing thought!
For this panel I plan to share and discuss the “morphing” process from one genre to another, for instance;
What factor(s) were the impetus for easing into a new genre.
What steps I took/take to learn about that genre.
The (often painful) learning curve that accompanies an acquired understanding and proficiency in a genre other than the one you are comfortable/familiar with.
Learning about how to market yourself in each genre.
The fact that by the time you are ready to market the “new you” the industry standards and demands may have shifted.
How can conferees apply what you’ve learned to their own work?
I think patience with yourself as you explore a different genre is very important. The learning curve is usually a long, slow one, years perhaps until you hone your “newly acquired” skills. Also, study! Read lots of materials written by authors of the same genre you’re working in and try to analyze their approach. Practice! Good chance it won’t be right the first time, so don’t expect that your first novel, picture book, screenplay, or whatever is going to be a best seller unless you’re an incredible genius ( which I’m not!)
What are you working on now?
I am working actively on three different projects right now; a picture book entitled Stage Fright about the fear of performing in front of an audience; another picture book entitled KUGELICIOUS which addresses the importance of community and working together, and my first YA novel entitle DISS-Connected about a 16-year-old girl adopted from Guatemala into a white family. She searches for her identity.
Where can we find you online?