Saturday, July 28, 2012

Interview with Author Jo Linsdell

1.      Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

I'm originally from the UK but moved to Rome, Italy in 2001 where I live with my Italian husband and our two young sons.

I've been writing pretty much since I could hold a pen. I used to love creative writing classes at school, then I got into poetry in my teens and would write it as a way of venting my feelings. As I got older I had various jobs working on publications and writing research articles but these were about dentistry and neurology and not really what I wanted to be writing about.

In 2006 everything changed. I saw an ad that an English language newspaper in Florence was looking for new writers to contribute to the paper. I sent off an article and it got published in the very next edition as it was. This was a huge turning point for me as it made me realize I could write about things I was actually interested in. Soon after I started work on my first book.

2.      Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary. (You can follow this up with any points you hope readers will take away with them)

In Out and About at the Zoo, rhyming text and colourful pictures accompany a fun day out discovering different animals at the zoo.

This book highlights the joy of spending quality family time together whilst also giving small children an introduction to some of the different animals found at the zoo, their appearance and some of the things they do.

3.      Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

I self publish my books and for Out and About at the Zoo opted for Create Space. I like to have complete total over the whole process and so self publishing is plan A for me.

4.      How did you get the idea for this book?

I wrote my children's picture book Out and About at the Zoo after taking my son to the zoo for the first time. He's always shown a big interest in my writing and asked me why I hadn't written a story for him. I figured he made a good point and so Out and About at the Zoo was born.

5.      What is a typical writing day like for you?

With a 4 year old and a 9 month old I don't have a typical writing day as such as I have to write when I can. When the eldest is at playschool I can usually get some work done in the morning whilst the youngest is napping or happily playing in his play-box. On non-school days it's harder to get things done.

I tend to do most of my writing late in the evening after they're both in bed.

6.      What do you enjoy most about writing?

Seeing an idea take form.

7.      What is the most difficult part of writing?

Getting to the point when I can say I've finished a project. I always have so many ideas that it can be hard to stop myself from go back and editing in new bits or changing things. If I'm not hard on myself and give myself strict cut off points I'd be eternally editing.

8.      How has publishing a book changed your life?

It makes it easier to explain to my non-writer friends what I do. When I say I'm I writer I'm often faced with blank expressions or the question "So what exactly do you do then?" It's as if being a writer isn't a real job. Being able to show them one of my books some how makes it magically clear what I do.

9.      If your book is based on true events, how has that affected those around you?

Out and About at the Zoo was inspired by the first time I took my son to the zoo and as such is a special project for my family. It's strengthened the bond between us even more and also helped my son better understand what I do.

10.  What are your plans now?

I'm already working on another rhyming children's picture about a young fairy called May that dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy.

I'm also working on a chick-lit and a non-fiction book about social media.

11.  What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. This applies both to your writing and your marketing efforts.

12.  What advice can you give adults, children and/or teens as they prepare for life?

Simply to enjoy it as much as possible. Life should be fun and involve doing things that make us happy.

13.  Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership? (Here you can share about characters, historical facts, setting or whatever else you would like our readers to know about and/or your book.)

This experience has been completely different from my other writing projects as it's the first time I'm also an illustrator. Who ever thinks putting a children's book together is easy is wrong. In a way it's harder than writing a full length novel.

I started by writing the text and that was actually the easy bit. Next I sketches some ideas for the illustrations and made a paper draft of the book layout.

My son was a huge help as at 4 years old he is full of questions and very honest in giving his opinions. He made it very clear, both with the text and the illustrations, what he liked and what he didn't and I made changes until it reached his standards.

It was nice to be able to involve him so much in my work for once and has made the book even more special to me.

Drawing the pictures for the book was fun but making them digital and print quality was not an easy task as I had no experience with illustrator programs. This book has been a huge learning curve for me. I scanned the sketches into the computer and then used Adobe Illustrator to turn them into the finished pages for the book. I would have been lost without the help and advice from my graphic friend Simon, who saved the day more than once with his technical knowledge.

14.  Do you make school visits or do speaking/book signing engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation.

I haven't yet but I hope to start later on this year when my youngest is a bit older.

15.  Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

My website is and Out and About at the Zoo can be purchased from and all the Amazon European sites as well as directly from

I'm also happy to connect via my various social media platforms:


  1. Thanks for hosting me on your site today and for all the support you've shown for my book and this tour.

  2. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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