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Her joy in the writing of Joy’s Journey really shines through. Jacinta Farragher is the author of this new gorgeous picture book, and she’s here to chat about her journey from initial concept to publication. Thanks, Jacinta! 🙂
Jacinta, congratulations on the release of your thoughtful and adventurous picture book, Joy’s Journey!
Can you briefly tell us how this story came about?
The first page of the book was the first thing I wrote, and then I started thinking about what adventures Joy might encounter while searching for a magical paradise.
I love playing with words, so some of the more playful lines came to me first, and the story gradually took shape around them, and the fact I really wanted to incorporate the seasons into the story.
It was also inspired by a “guru” called Abraham Hicks that I was listening to a lot at the time, who teaches that life is supposed to be fun, and that if you just relax and enjoy yourself, everything else will fall into place.
Joy’s Journey is both a literal and figurative journey of adventure far and wide, and of self-discovery to find the hidden gems within. What other ideas did you aim to elicit to readers through your story?
The major themes are self-belief, self-discovery, and gratitude.
Central to the story is the idea that the joy is in the journey – that you can achieve anything, but happiness comes from enjoying each moment leading up to the achievement, rather than the end result.
Also, that everything we need or are looking for is within ourselves.
More generally, I also wanted the book to express the beauty of nature, and the idea that a journey is circular – you can travel through different lands and seasons, but will always come home to yourself.
In what ways do you, yourself, relate to Joy’s explorative nature? Do you have your own metaphorical mountains that you’ve had to overcome?
Well, in a way I feel like Joy is me… Joy’s Journey is written in the first person, because I was really writing it about, and for myself.
Everyone has their own mountains to overcome, but I think my belief that life is a fun and magical place, and that we’re all in control of our own destiny makes the tough times easier.
I feel like anything that happens, good or bad, is a starting point for what comes next… so life is always a big adventure.
Manka Kasha’s illustrations are beautifully colourful, lively and serenely joyous. The landscapes are charmingly enticing! What do you like about the way she has portrayed your story? Was there much collaboration throughout the process?
I particularly love Manka’s portrayal of the character Joy – her face is so expressive, and well… joyful! And yes, her landscapes are just gorgeous.
I provided an illustration brief, including physical descriptions of the characters, and the desired colour palette and feel. From these notes, Manka created sketches, followed by roughs, then full colour illustrations, with feedback between each stage.
There were very minimal changes to the illustrations though – Manka has done an amazing job with them.
Tell us a bit about your publication journey with Little Steps Publishing.
Little Steps is a Hybrid publisher, which means the author pays a fee for their services, but then also receives creative control, and a larger royalty from sales.
I pursued a hybrid contract partly because I’d already fallen in love with Manka Kasha’s work, and I wanted the choice to be able to work with her.
I liked Little Steps, because their website was very clear – I felt like I knew what to expect, and both their website and existing publications were aesthetically beautiful.
The Little Steps team are all lovely, and working with them has been easy and straightforward.
What has been the most rewarding part of writing and/or publishing this story?
Being able to share the finished product with people! The story means so much to me, but the real thrill is in seeing other people enjoy it, and get something out of it.
What do you most hope children, parents and educators will gain from reading Joy’s Journey?
My hope is that people will read Joy’s Journey and realise that they too are strong and wise beings that can rely on themselves, and achieve anything, just like Joy.
There are many different aspects of the book that I hope will appeal to all types of readers. I’ve also created some activities and teachers notes that delve deeper into the ideas in the story. (Available at www.jacintafarragher.com)
Above all I just want people to enjoy the story and feel happy when they read it.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Oh it comes from everywhere! A lot from nature, from conversations, from feelings and ideas – from my own heart and viewpoints that I want to share with the world.
What’s next for you? Any projects you’re currently working on?
Yes, Manka Kasha and I are currently working on another book with the same characters as in Joy’s Journey.
It’s called Joy’s Way, and it’s about how Joy learns many things from different people, but does everything in her own special way.
Where can we find you on social media?
Thanks so much for answering our questions, Jacinta! 😊
My pleasure, thank YOU!
Visit Jacinta at her website: jacintafarragher.com/
JOY’S JOURNEY is available for purchase through: Jacinta’s SHOP | Little Steps Publishing
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