Joan 72

I grew up near the ocean in Massachusetts, where my grandparents arrived from the Azores and Madeira islands.

My mother taught me to love reading with twice-weekly trips to the public library. My teachers inspired me to write. I was the first of my family to graduate from college.

For a very long time, I was too busy raising six kids to write although I told them stories I made up. I started with poetry but found my way to prose when I began reporting on the hill towns of western Massachusetts for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

My most recent gig in journalism was the managing editor of an award-winning newspaper, The Taos News. My editorials have won state and national awards, and I’d like to think, bring positive change.

As a reporter I listened to the way people talked and observed how they behaved. It’s an experience I believe pays off with true-to-life characters and dialogue.

My husband Hank and I moved to Taos, New Mexico, in 2006, where we live in a small, passive-solar home. We enjoyed views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, brilliant sunsets, and dark night skies. Alas, we are relocating to a small town in Western Massachusetts to be closer to family and other amenities.

The Twin Jinn series is my first venture into writing for young readers. I wanted to create likable but mischievous children. What better way than to make them jinn or genies? Besides magical realism, the books have the element of suspense — the Jinn family hides among humans in different settings after tricking their former master into letting them go.

I must say Jute and Fina Jinn — and the other characters in this series — bring me my happiest times writing.

My next project for young readers is Los Primos/The Cousins bilingual series. So what is this series about? Young cousins, Diego and Sofia, go on adventures with their Grandpa Roberto. Diego lives with his grandparents. Sofia’s parents run a taqueria called The Happy Burrito. But magic and Grandpa Roberto’s imaginative stories adds to the fun.

I created the stories in English. My friend Teresa Dovalpage, an author and professor from Cuba, tells them in Spanish. We are planning to launch the Los Primos Books website soon.

For more on my writing, visit www.joanlivingston.net