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  • Writer's pictureMary Boone

Six Questions with Joy Moore


Joy Moore’s previous published works includes, Wiggle-Wiggle, Scratch-Scratch-, Itch-Itch-Itch with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and many magazine articles and poems.

Joy Moore is a developmental and line editor. In addition, she is graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature, the Lyrical Language Lab, Avoiding Pitfalls in Picture Books, Picture Book Magic, A Picture Book Master Class, The Art of the Arc and Kid’s Book Revisions and is a member of SCBWI and 12 x 12. Visit Joy's website to learn more about her and her work.


1. How did you begin your journey as an author?

My writing journey began at the age of eight. I knew with clarity that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. The journey itself was riddled with rabbit holes, stopping points, giving up, doubt, secret writing periods and stupid mistakes.


2. Do you ever struggle to come up with your next project? Or do I have lots of ideas and find it a challenge to narrow down your ideas?

I always have lots of ideas and half-finished projects in a file on my computer. One part of my favorite things is revisions. I will tinker with words and sentences for years. I will write a story seven different ways. Do I know when it is ready? Nope. Do I always have time to finish most of the half written projects? Nope. Doubt and time are my worst enemies.


3. Do you ever get stuck creatively? If so, how do you get unstuck?

I get unstuck by doing something. Meaning I exercise or go for a walk. It has been scientifically proven that exercise gets more blood flowing to the brain, and more blood to the brain means more thinking power.

I make it a habit to go to Pintrest and YouTube. I search pictures or books or poetry or quotes. From there I browse and get some direction. I ask my husband which ending he prefers. I also like to go to word prompt sites and contest sites that force me to write in a certain direction.


4. Where did you get the idea for this book? What was your inspiration?

My idea and inspiration for this book came from a family where everyone in the family was deaf. All except for one child, a girl. This girl, who was hearing was the odd one. From there I developed an idea of a family of colorful fish. One small fish decided he was tired of being colorful and his colorful family. He went in search of a normal family. In the end this fish found out that his colorful family gave him a rare gift.


5. What was the process or timeline for book, from idea to publishing?

  • I came up with the idea in 2010.

  • I paid for a critique at a Scbwi conference.

  • I sent it out and recieved a champagne rejection. The editor told me that I needed to give the MC a quirk of some kind. Since my husband is always itchy and his family is also itchy, I made my MC a fish an itchy fish. This fish came from a family who needed to scratch their itchy spot every day.

  • In 2012 I received a contract. Once signed I had to make several revisions.

  • The book came out in 2014.

  • The book is now out of print.


6. What’s a particularly striking or memorable reaction someone has to this book?

When I went to the SCBWI conference and was receiving my paid critique, I was surprised to find the critiquer crying. I was also surprised by the apathy of my family (excluding my husband). Not one bought person the book. I have decided to quit many times since that book. Every single time my husband has talked me out of it. My husband has told me that he is amazed at what I’m able to do.


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