BARBARA ANN MOJICA
- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview with another author with six children and six grandchildren - Barbara Ann Mojica. Barbara Ann Mojica is a historian and retired educator. She writes historical articles for the Columbia Insider under the banner "Passages." Using the whimsical Little Miss History character, Barbara hopes to inspire children to learn about historical people and places.
Welcome, Barbara Ann ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING
My husband Victor and I have six grown children with six grandchildren and a
seventh on the way. Victor is both a writer and a gifted illustrator. He
developed the Little Miss History character based on a younger version of
myself. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I majored in History and
English, both of which naturally involved lots of research and writing. I love
sharing my opinions and ideas with others so writing nonfiction comes
naturally to me. My professional career has always involved children, and that
led me to marry the two interests to make learning about history fun and
educational for all ages.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I have been researching and writing academic papers all my adult life, but I
became a professional writer four years ago when I was hired to write
biweekly historical articles for a local news magazine, The Columbia Insider.
After I retired from the education field, I missed interacting with the children
so I began to toy with the idea of writing a series of book appropriate for both
children and adults to make learning about historic events and places
interesting and exciting. We developed the Little Miss History character who
is a wannabe park ranger wearing hiking boots that are three sizes too big and
giant rose-colored sun glasses. Three books have been already released
featuring Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty and Sequoia National Park
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT?
DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE
My preparation involves careful research, personal experiences and collating
relevant photographs. After completing the first step, I write a first draft. Then
I edit many times. Next I sit down with my illustrator/husband and he comes
up with a layout of drawings and photographs page by page with the text. We
complete one page at a time to see how it flows. Sometimes we scratch an idea
and start over. When we are finally satisfied, Victor lays it out and I do one
last edit. It is so hard to let a project go. Last step is looking at the proof copy
to decide if it is a go.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
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
really a treat. I have been pleasantly surprised by the fact that so many adult
readers have told me they learned a lot by reading my books. Many people
follow my magazine articles named PASSAGES and look forward to reading
them. Last, but certainly not least are the many author friends with which that
I have shared experiences and grown with as a writer.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The writing itself is not a chore for me, but a pleasurable experience. I don't
enjoy the hassles of marketing, production, and the business side of the
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A
Most of my professional career has been in the education field, since I am
certified in teaching and school administration. I began as a teacher in
elementary school, but later moved into the field of special education. My
career included classroom teaching of preschoolers with severe educational
handicaps, principal of a special education preschool, special education
administrator and one on one teaching Applied Behavioral Analysis
with young autistic children
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I think that I would say it is the Little Miss History series for which I have
already conceived or begun five more books.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I am finishing the final edit of Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD'S
THEATER, which I hope to release before the end of this year. At the same
time, I am writing my biweekly articles and putting together a book of those
already published in the magazine.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by a need to know why things happen, the natural curiosity of
children, and by my husband's confidence in my writing as well as his artistic
talent to make my picture books come alive
10 WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write nonfiction most of the time. Occasionally, I will write a short story or a
10. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
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.
11. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
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.This does presume that all my research has
been completed and is laid out in front of me.
12. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
My schedule is flexible in the sense that I don't stick to doing things at a set
time of day. Magazine deadlines are fixed, but I have a yearly layout of
themes and my articles are completed ahead of schedule. A part of everyday is
devoted to email, marketing, writing, reading and reviewing books for my
blog posts discussing family friendly literature.
13. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I generally write at my computer in the home studio that my husband and I
14. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
First, looking at my finished project and then watching a reader's reaction
while reading it.
15. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I have so many favorites; it is hard to choose. One of the books that
profoundly affected me is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. There was so
much emotion in her writing.
16. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED
FROM A READER?
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!” That is
my intent—to develop a love of historic events and places and possibly visit
them in the future.
17. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Fortunately, I have not had many negative comments or reviews. One of my
readers thought that some of the sentences were too long in my first book and
that making them shorter would make the book more accessible to younger
readers. The independent reading level for the series is generally middle grade,
but the large illustrations and font allow younger readers to understand the
18. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT
HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes, I am a firm believer in Little Miss HISTORY'S motto, “If you don't know
your history, you don't know what you are talking about.” I live in an area that
is rich in history. Everywhere I go I see the influence of the past, and I do
believe our future is also built on that same foundation.
19. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love watching sunsets over the lake, boating in the summertime, reading and
watching a good movie with my husband at the end of the day. Of course I
never get tired of looking at pictures of the grandchildren.
20. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED
Yes, and they go through several edits before publication.
21. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Checking and answering my email, going for a boat ride, reading and writing
for a few hours, working out, and then watching a movie before bed.
22. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON,
WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Definitely my husband, we are soulmates and I can't imagine my life without
23. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO
Stop worrying about yourselves and the special interests that you represent
and start listening to the people who elected you.
24. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
My plans are to continue exactly what I am doing now. I want to read, write
and educate until I can no able to do so.
25. WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
Only five? I would take The Good Earth, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With
the Wind, The Fall of the Roman Empire, and The Little Prince.
26. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I certainly see myself in Little Miss History; she is a younger version of
27. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Sometimes, there are days when everything seems stacked against you. So
much competition, large monopolies, and a small group of people in control
with narrow self interests. The internet has provided so much opportunity, yet
that same opportunity makes things untenable for one person to navigate.
28. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No, I might get frustrated and have a bad day, but I bounce right back the next
29. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
Hard to choose, but I really enjoyed writing my upcoming book on Ford's
Theater. Coincidentally, I was born on the same day as Lincoln, and I have
always felt a particular affinity to the man's personality.
30. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Success for me is to be pleased with the quality of the book and the message
that it conveys. I can only hope that others will agree.
31. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS
KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
My readers should know a lot more information about the topic than when
they opened the book. I want them to feel entertained, enlightened and eager
to know more.
32. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
My husband designed the logo the the series and puts a lot of thought into
each book cover. While I have always been immensely pleased with the result,
he has been drawing since the age of five, and I defer to his judgment when it
comes to graphics.
33. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
I would like to see my books available to as many children as possible in
homes, classrooms and libraries because I would like to share my passion for
history with as many people as possible. When I was in school, reading history
from a textbook was not fun or interesting for most children or adults.
34. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR
BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Marketing is probably the most tedious and time-consuming task of authors.
Even the most successful writers have to devote a large amount of time to
promotion. That means a careful balancing act which can produce a drain on
health and pocketbook. I urge authors not to try to do too much at once. Find
your target audience and most productive outlets and concentrate on them one
at a time until you build up your connections and audience.
35. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
We do the layout and print through Create Space and have found the quality
for picture books to be excellent.
36. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Determined, stubborn, friendly, helpful and competent
37. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
People who are full of themselves and won't listen to anyone else's opinions.
38. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
I read Hope Defined by Shannon Humphreys for my blog. It is a middle grade
book that discusses bullying and racism amidst a background of science and
fantasy. It is a nice read for tweens and teens.
39. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
I have labored long and hard in the hope that I am leaving this world a better
place and more informed than when I entered it.
40. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE
Nothing at all on my end—right now I am extremely happy.
41. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I would like to thank you, Clancy, for the opportunity to share my little world
with all your readers.
Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Ann-
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Barbara Ann. Interesting covers. As a lover of history, I admire your work. Well done.