Name: Joy Fernandez
Connection to Fredericksburg region: I moved to the Fredericksburg region 10 years ago from Maryland. I grew up on the Eastern Shore, moved to southern Maryland when I met my husband, but Maryland never felt like home. Since moving to Virginia, we have bought a small farm and absolutely love the area. Downtown Fredericksburg is such a beautiful city with all its history and beautiful buildings. The shops are amazing. I am very happy to call myself a Fredericksburg resident now. It’s a wonderful place to raise my family.
I was inspired to write a book because: Since I was a young girl, I have had a love for writing. As I became a women with kids of my own, I have enjoyed telling them made-up stories before bed. One day, while reading “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown (my favorite bedtime story), I thought, I should do this. I should publish a story for my kids to read to their children one evening at bedtime. That was the night my story “Little Bella’s Nighttime Wonderland” began.
Favorite time/place to write: I love to write at all times of the day, whenever a thought or idea pops into my head. Writing is life for me, so whenever the urge hits, I go with it. I can write anywhere, if the thoughts are in my head. I do prefer to write in a small memorial garden for my mother out in my backyard. It’s very quiet and tranquil there. The ideas seem to flow more often there.
Future plans as an author: I plan on writing a few sequels to “Little Bella’s Night time Wonderland.” It is a story I have created in hopes of teaching small children to appreciate the natural world.
What I learned from the writing/publishing process: I have learned to write the rough draft without corrections—just let it flow. It’s the best way to write. You can correct your writing later. Also, I have learned that although once you finish writing a story, you think your hard work is done, but it is not. There are a lot of steps and a huge process afterward—from the editing to finding an illustrator to correcting illustrations. The whole process has been rewarding for me because I have learned so much. I have a wonderful publisher and an amazing design team and am so thankful they have had patience teaching me all I need to know.
My advice for those trying to write a book: Since announcing I was publishing a children’s book, I have had many people ask me how I have done it. And I give them the same advice. If you want something bad enough, you never stop dreaming about it, never stop chipping away at that dream. As long as you want it bad enough, nothing can stand in your way. Even those long nights of writers block where you’re so frustrated with your lack of creativity you think you’ll never be good at this writing thing. You must never give up ... the right words will come to you in time.
About my work
Book title: “Little Bella’s Nighttime Wonderland”
Plot summary: As little Bella snuggles down for bed, she looks out her window and can’t believe what she sees. Fireflies illuminate a nighttime wonderland that unfolds right before her eyes.
Publisher: Belle Isle Books
Publication date: July 20, 2018
Genre: Children’s Picture Books
Who should read my book? Although this book is intended for young children, I think anyone who loves nature, especially fireflies, should read this story. With the amazing illustrations and charming words, it’s sure to be a hit for young and old!
You can buy my book: My book is for sale on my publisher’s website, belleislebooks.com. It is also for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.