Friday, June 22, 2012

Interview Friday: Jo Linsdell author of "Out and About at the Zoo"

Jo Linsdell writes about Italy, pregnancy and parenting, marketing (She LOVES social media) and the writing industry.

Linsdell enjoyed writing since she could hold a pen in her hand but officially started her writing career in 2006. Since then, Linsdell has worked for numerous clients around the world and won a few awards along the way too. She has also published several books including the popular "Italian for Tourists" phrase book. 

VS: What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life? 

Jo: It's not easy but I try to make time for both everyday. I always have a to-do list written up for each day and make sure it includes both work and family based tasks. A trip to the park with my kids is right up there with writing a new chapter or carrying out marketing tasks.

I think when you love doing something you make the time for it in your life regardless. 

VS: How long have you been writing?

Jo: Pretty much since I could hold a pen but seriously since 2006. 

VS: What inspired you to write your book? 

Jo: 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.

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 sketched 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.
VS: What is a typical writing day like for you? 

Jo: I don't have a typical day as such. Being a full-time mum to a 4 year old and a 9 month old means I have to fit in my writing time around them. I grab time when I can and make the most of it when they're napping. I tend to get most of my work done late in the evening after the kids are in bed.

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing? 

Jo: Very. My husband had told everyone we know about my book even before it was finished. He is my number one fan and very supportive.

My kids are great too and my 4 year old son is showing an increasing interest in what I do. He played a very active role in the creation of Out and About at the Zoo.

VS: If this isn’t your first publication, what was the first thing you ever had published? 

Jo: My first book, Italian for Tourists, came out in 2007. It's an English-Italian phrasebook designed specifically to cover only the language needed by tourists during their visit to Italy.
VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book? 

Jo: Out and About at the Zoo is a rhyming children's picture book with bold, colorful pictures. It's about a child who goes to the zoo with his mum and the different animals he discovers during the visit.

VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing your book? 

Jo: The most challenging aspect of this book was the illustrating part. The text flowed quite easily and didn't take long to write. 

As this was my first experience using an illustrating program, dealing with the technical stuff like transparencies, layers and embedding text was a real learning curve.
VS: What part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally? 

Jo: That's a tough question. The whole book is so closely linked to my kids from the idea to the text to the illustrations and so it's all special.

VS: If this is a work of fiction, what character is most like you? 

Jo: Probably the crazy monkey's :)

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them? 

Jo: Yes several. 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.

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication? 

Jo: Make the time for working on your writing. Take advantage of moments when your kids are at playschool or napping. Put smaller kids in a play-box with a few toys to keep them busy so you can have a window of time to concentrate on your work. Do a 5 minute writing sprint or work on marketing when you get the chance. Make the most of the evenings after the kids are in bed.
VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book? 

Jo: It needs to keep the reader turning the pages to find out what is going to happen next. You need to make them want more. In the case of Out and About at the Zoo it's wanting to know what other animals there are and what they'll be doing.
VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours? 

Jo: In Out and  about at the Zoo, the animals are seen through the eyes of the child. I asked my son what he remembered about the animals he'd seen at the zoo during our own trip and used his answers as inspiration for the text.
VS: What do you feel as parents we need to do to help our children see success? 

Jo: Be supportive and encourage them to try new things. When they know your there for them no matter what they aren't afraid to experiment and in doing so can reach their true potential.
VS: Have you received any awards for your writing? 

Jo: I've won several awards for my blogs and was listed on the Literary World Who's Who in the writing industry in 2009. 

VS: Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about and your writing? 

Jo: Readers can find more information about this book, me and my other writing projects at my website

About the Book:
Jo Linsdell picture book Out and About at the Zoo is a rhyming picture book with colorful pictures showing children a fun day out discovering different things in the world around them. This first book in the ‘Out and About’ series is a wonderful introduction to a day at the zoo for children young and old.

Linsdell, also the illustrator, has created pictures so adorable it makes you want to hug each animal in the book. Both the pictures and the text will entice a child's wonder and excitement during a day at the zoo.  

 The World of Ink Network has joined in helping to tour author Jo Linsdell’s first book from the 'Out and About' series of rhyming children's picture books, Out and About at the Zoo.

You can find out more about Jo Linsdell’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me today and supporting the release of my book.