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An Interview with Barbara Ann Mojica — Joannes Rhino - Bali Online Editor " />
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11 Jul

Devoting mission to make learning about historic events and places, meet Barbara Ann Mojica… 


JR: Tell us about yourself, and how would you describe yourself?

Barbara: I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Queens. Proud to say that I worked my way through college and was the first in my family to graduate with a degree at age twenty. Receiving a scholarship, I went on to graduate school. After college, I worked as an administrative assistant for a short time before embarking on a teaching career. I taught in elementary school, then moved to special education, and later principal and special education administrator. In addition I taught dyslexic children using the Wilson Reading Program and Applied Behavioral Analysis with autistic children. Now that I am retired, I am loving my new career as a writer for a local news magazine, children’s book writer, and book reviewer.

I live in upstate New York in a rural area with my wonderful husband, who is also the illustrator and publisher of my book series. We write and draw from a cozy studio in our home overlooking a pretty lake. Together we have six children and seven grandchildren, including two sets of twins. We live in a community filled with historic sites, which we enjoy visiting. Victor and I support local events like the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, library events, and fundraisers for literacy in and around our community.


JR: When did you first realise you want to be a writer? Who spotted that talent and what was the first thing you do knowing that? Also, do you have any formal education in creative writing? Do you think formal education in writing is necessary?

Barbara: Actually I’ve always been writing and researching. I have graduate and undergraduate degrees in history with a minor in English, so the writing process is familiar to me. After I retired from a long career in teaching and administration, I had the time to devote to my mission to make learning about historic events and places both fun and educational. In addition, I hope to encourage children and their parents to get out to visit and experience these sites that are an integral part of our history.


JR: Are you a full-time author? Do you have other activities as main source of income? How do you organise your schedule and time in writing a book?

Barbara: I am a full time author. My time is divided across several areas. I write monthly historical articles for The Columbia Insider, review books twice weekly on my blog, contribute weekly to the Quest Teaching site, research and write the Little Miss HISTORY series, and spend time promoting and marketing my work.


JR: What made you decide to start writing something? What or who influences you?

Barbara: I became a professional writer six years ago when I was hired to write historical articles for a local news magazine. After retiring from the education field, I missed interacting with the children so I began to toy with the idea of writing a series of books appropriate for both children and adults that make learning about historic events and places interesting and exciting. My husband, Victor, is an artist and illustrator. He developed the cartoon-like Little Miss HISTORY character based on a younger version of myself. She is a wannabee park ranger who wears hiking boots three sizes too big and wears giant, rose-colored sunglasses.


JR: What is the greatest lesson you have learned and/or greatest achievement you have reached as a writer?

Barbara: That is such a difficult question to answer. I love seeing a new book in print for the first time. Watching a child’s eyes light up while reading my book is a real treat. I have been pleasantly surprised by the fact that so many adult readers have told me that they learned a lot by reading my books. One of my reviewers said, “I love Barbara’s books-they are treasures to be unwrapped and gifts to be opened and read for kids and adults alike.” Many adults follow my magazine articles titled Passages and look forward to reading them. Sharing experiences with my author friends have assisted me tremendously in my growth as a writer.


JR: Do you have habits in writing? Any specific time and/or place to write?

Barbara: I don’t have a set time of day for writing, though I divide the day into writing, marketing, and scheduling promotional opportunities like book signings, school visits, and book festivals. If I had to choose a specific time, I would say that I am basically a morning person. I work, alongside my husband, in a small studio in our home.


JR: How long do you normally finish writing a book? What is the hardest part in the process?

Barbara: A picture book generally takes from four to six months to finish. I begin with the research process followed by organization of my notes. Next comes a rough draft. I let the draft sit for a week or so before coming back to look again. That process is repeated many times until I am satisfied and ready to go for edit. Then my husband/illustrator takes the manuscript and roughs in ideas for drawing and layout. We corroborate page by page. Sometimes the design changes as the book progresses. When both of us are satisfied the picture book is uploaded and sent out to print. The hardest part of writing is letting go and sending a book to print. I agonize over the manuscript and illustrations right up to the time it is uploaded for printing.


JR: Do you have professional editors to furnish your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

Barbara: I have readers who preview Advance Review Copies and occasionally share suggestions through my social media sites.


JR: How do you think you have evolved creatively?

Barbara: I think that I have learned how to write succinctly. Writing children’s books is a lot different from completing an academic thesis. It forces the writer to get to the point  quickly and express it clearly.


JR: Do you ever face Writer’s Block? If you do, how did you overcome the situation?

Barbara: I never suffer from writer’s block. Once I start an article or story, I will finish at least a rough draft in one sitting, presuming my research has been completed and is accessible to me. I realize the process of writing fiction is much different.


JR: Do you have professional designer to design the cover and/or interior of your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

Barbara: I cannot draw a lick! Fortunately, I am married to a talented illustrator who has been drawing since the age of five. His website is www.eugenus.com


JR: How do you involve in promoting your books? Any marketing technique you can share?

Barbara: Nothing in particular; I use twitter, Facebook, google+, and linked in to connect with fans and fellow authors. I also use email lists to keep in touch with my followers. When I find something especially useful, I share through social media.


JR: Give your thoughts about traditional publishing Vs. self-publishing?

Barbara: I think that self-publishing levels the playing field for authors. Traditional publishers usually have a set agenda and a limited repertoire of what can be published at a particular point in time. If a writer doesn’t fit that niche, he or she doesn’t have much chance to be selected. In today’s market, the author does most of the publicity whether traditionally published or not.

While some doors remain closed to self-published or small press authors, the public is beginning to realize the value of GOOD self-published works. Modern readers know what they want to read; they prefer to choose for themselves rather than be dictated to by a few large publishing houses.


JR: How many books have you written (published and non-published)?

Barbara: My Little Miss HISTORY Travels tobook series is ongoing. Seven books have been published so far. I have also released a coloring book based on Little Miss HISTORY’s adventures which includes famous quotes from history and an activity page. My The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY features all three of my New York City books in one volume. Next up, a journey to La Brea Tar Pits is on the horizon.


JR: What genre that you normally write, and what draws you to this genre? Do you always write in the same genre?

Barbara: My preferred genre is nonfiction, history and travel intended to span the generations from elementary school on up into adulthood.


Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA National ParkJR: Of all the books that you have written down, which book that you think the best one? And what do you think readers will find most appealing about this book? What’s the “real story” behind this book?

Barbara: I have difficulty picking a personal favorite because each historical site is unique and valuable for different reasons. My best seller is my Sequoia National Park book. I think readers are drawn to the magnificence of these giants and the diversity of the park. This book also discusses the environment.


JR: Any other works in progress?

Barbara: As I mentioned, a journey back in time to La Brea Tar Pits is next. I have manuscripts for five other book in various stages of development and a couple of ideas for new adventures that I am mulling over in my head.


JR: What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?

Barbara: Follow your heart and your dreams. If you have a passion, express it, don’t give up even when things seem to be going overwhelmingly against you. Be persistent and optimistic. I know that is easier said than done, but it is my best advice.


JR: How can readers discover more about you and your works?

Barbara: I love to chat and share. Here are some ways to reach me!

Website          http://www.littlemisshistory.com

Blog                http://www.bamauthor.me

Facebook       https://www.facebook.com/LittleMissHISTORY.com

Twitter           https://twitter.com/bamauthor

Google+         https://plus.google.com/u/0/101786959456508311096

linked in        https://www.linkedin.com/in/bamauthor/

Pinterest        https://www.pinterest.com/bamauthor/

Email              barbara@littlemisshistory.com

SCBWI            https://www.scbwi.org/members-public/barbara-mojica

Amazon         https://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Ann-Mojica/e/B00B9DOVKC


 Barbara Ann Mojica