Today Lovely Books Shines The Author Spotlight On…
Barbara Ann Mojica
I am a historian with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in history who has New York State teaching certifications in elementary, special education and educational supervision. I spent several years as a principal of a special education preschool and a special education supervisor. Now that I am retired, I write biweekly historical articles for a local news magazine, but I also wanted to stay involved with children. So I married my love of teaching with history by using the Little Miss HISTORY character to inspire children to learn about historical people and visit landmarks such as the one covered in the first book, Mount Rushmore and the second in the series, The STATUE of LIBERTY.
How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?
I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in history so I have always loved to research and write. About ten years ago, I published an article about the history of Forest Park in Queens, New York in a professional journal. After retiring from a long career in teaching and administration, in 2010 I began to write historical articles uder the banner “Passages” for The Columbia Insider, a local news magazine. Marrrying my love of history and teaching, my illustrator/husband and I came up with the whimsical character, Miss HISTORY, so that I could develop a picture book series to make learning about historic events and places a fun and educational experience. Hence, the Little Miss HISTORY series was born!
What made you choose your genre?
I chose this genre because I love history and I do believe learning about history can be fun. The new core curriculum here in the US emphasizes nonfiction sources over fiction and this shift will be difficult for many children who are accustomed to reading mostly fiction. It is my belief that combining the picture book format with humor and history allows children to learn and retain information while encouraging them to explore further on their own.
How do you find inspiration?
I find my inspiration by thinking about the places I have visited and issues that will appeal to both children and adults. Then I pay close attention to topics that are currently being featured in the news and media. In addition, I strive to correlate them with information with which adults and children are less familiar. My objective is to make my book series informative and appealing to both adults and children.
How do you go about writing a book? Do you have any schedule, tricks or tips to share?
After selecting my topic, I research to double check my existing knowledge and check the veracity of my information. Next I write a draft copy. Then I edit and decide what to keep and what to discard. My story line does not always coincide exactly with my illustrator’s vision of my book. Because I tell my story though the pictures and my character, more revisions are often necessary. The final step is editing the text and putting story and pictures into layout for publishing. Last step is preparing the book for the printer and checking the proof copy before releasing the book for publication.
I spend part of my day writing and part of the day marketing, contacting and helping fellow authors. Some days that includes reading and reviewing children’s books for my blog which I usually post twice weekly. Being an author is a full-time seven day a week vocation. My advice to fellow authors is to budget your time, but always allow time to lend a helping hand. You need to be flexible and to be able to juggle priorities on a given day.
What kind of books do you read?
I still love to read children’s books and that is why I enjoy reviewing them. But I do enjoy historical fiction, history, thrillers and adventure stories.