Joan Holub is the author and/or illustrator of 140 books for children, including Little Red Writing (Chronicle Books) illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet, Zero the Hero (Henry Holt), and the Goddess Girls series (Simon & Schuster; co-authored with Suzanne Williams). For more info, visit her website.
Is there a story behind your name?
Holub means pigeon in Czechoslovakia, where it’s pronounced huh-LOOB, the sound a pigeon makes. My family says it like this: HAH-lubb.
What was one of the most fun things you and your college roommates did together?
Ushered at a Bonnie Raitt concert with no clue as to how the arena seats were arranged or located.
If you could live anywhere for one year, where would you live?
In the forest of Little Red Writing where I would always find the right story path and save granny in the end.
If you could have one super human power, what would it be?
When it comes to super human powers, I like to cover my bases, so I’ll go with the power to make anything happen that I want to happen at any time.
What is the craziest (or stupidest) thing you’ve ever done?
Viewed What Does the Fox Say? 19 times in succession on YouTube.
Which of the seven dwarfs would you like to be?
Can I be the eighth dwarf, Brainy?
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Half full. Of fresh-squeezed lemonade on ice.
If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else, where would you be?
Inside a favorite book, playing a character I identify with.
If you could date any celebrity, who would it be?
The big bad wolf. Oh, wait, I think I did date him and it didn’t work out.
What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
My mom read and took us to the library. That’s how I learned to love books.
What books are you reading right now?
Timmy Failure and Save the Cat.
Name someone who supported your writing journey outside of family members.
Critique partner and friend, author Lorie Ann Grover (Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish; Firstborn)
Can you share a time in your writing career where you wanted to seriously give up?
I follow the credo of that Galaxy Quest character that said, “Never give up, Never surrender.” If one door shuts, I look for another that’s open.
Any advice for other writers?
To help with pacing, storyboard or chart a book that you love. Find its highs, lows, climax, goal-reveals, etc. Then analyze the book you’ve written. Is it hitting similar marks?
What inspired you to write your first book?
Halloween is my favorite holiday and October is my favorite month, so that led me to write a board/novelty book called Boo Who, A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic).
What books have most influenced your life?
Grimm Fairy Tales, Eloise, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, Dr. Seuss books.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Books are only finished when the deadline arrives. I’d keep rewriting forever if I could. But I respect deadlines.
Anything you find particularly challenging in writing? What comes easily?
First drafts and synopses are sometimes tough. Initial ideas, titles, and revising come pretty easily.