Interview with Jo Fontana

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm either reading or doing artwork.
What is your writing process?
When writing a story, I usually get a silly idea from something mundane. If the idea is good for a Turtle Monkey book, I write notes and a basic outline. The pieces of the story usually come together while I write it. Many good ideas come from the environment. Children and animals can also be a great inspiration. Turtle Monkey came about when I purchased a green monkey for my daughter and began telling stories about the monkey to her. As the stories evolved, I began adding tidbits from our lives as well as a few fond memories of my son who had died years ago at his father's house. It was a way to keep him alive in some way and helped me cope with his death.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It wasn't the first book I read, but the most memorable book for me was Two Too Many by Nora S. Unwin. It is a children's book centered around a witch and her black cats. It has been a while since I've read it, but it was the first book I got completely caught up with. I must have read it at least ten times. It was the book that I judged all others by until I reached high school.
How do you approach cover design?
I wanted to make covers that are distinctive. I came up with the idea of using a colored background and felt art instead of a drawing or painting so I could achieve a 3D look.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Two too Many because it was the first book I fell in love with. The Shining because it is the scariest book I've ever read. Obviously the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling was able to draw me so deeply into the books that it almost felt real.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I actually use my computer. I do everything on the computer and it is just easier to download books in either PDF of Kindle format.
Describe your desk
I don't use a desk. I use my laptop and just write wherever I am. I only use the desk for drawing.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on Long Island. There wasn't much technology while I was growing up and I spent a lot of time outside by myself. I lived near the water so I would go across the canal and roam through the cattails looking for fairies or lightning bugs. I guess it heightened my imagination and now I use my imagination to create fun fantasy stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is an anthology of short stories. I was inspired by Stephen King, who has several anthologies out in print. Sometimes there are stories that are best told as a short story.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has made my dream of publishing books a reality. There are no upfront fees and my books are widely distributed. I have been able to sell books through an array of vendors, this way I reach a wider audience.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is actually creating something that will last long after I am gone. I hope my books bring comfort, joy, and wonder to those who purchase them.
Published 2016-10-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.