My passion has always been children's books. I've worked in two bookstores, a high school library, an elementary school library, and a publishing company (as an editorial assistant). I always knew I wanted to write, but I made the biggest mistake a writer can make.
I didn't write often enough.
Months or even years went by between stories. I wrote when I felt like it. I continued to read voraciously. I dreamed of writing novels, but didn't know where to start.
Then something happened.
In July 2005, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while on vacation in Maine with my family. I experienced the worst headache of my life -- unbearable pain and pressure, as if the inside of my head had exploded. I spent three weeks in the hospital in Maine (and they took great care of me; I love Maine!) and then went home.
It took me a year and a half to feel like myself again and I still remember the day, in February, 2007, that I knew I was going to be okay. Since then, I joined SCBWI, attended workshops, found a writing group, studied craft books and blogs, and now I write on a much more regular basis (maybe not every day, but close). I've completed eight picture books, four middle grade novels, one YA novel, and one memoir. I recently started writing and selling flash fiction and poetry. These days, my brain explodes with ideas for new stories.
Besides reading and writing, I enjoy travel with my family, walking, photography, and watching old movies. I drink a lot of tea. I love chocolate, sweet potato fries, and avocados, but not at the same time! I'm the mother of
two grown sons. My husband and I currently reside in southeastern
UPDATE: August 2018. I lost about six months of my life in late 2017 and early 2018. Another aneurysm, that, again, I didn't know I had, exploded inside my head. And again, we were in Maine when this happened. For most of those six months I was out of my mind. I have no memory of that horrible time for my family and especially for my husband. I remember bits and pieces of April and May 2018, when four different therapists came to my home to work with me. This second rupture was far harder on me than the first, and not just because I'm twelve years older. This time I had a shunt installed but it got infected and they took it out. Altogether I had four different shunts, and a half-shaved head, before the doctors were satisfied. Unfortunately I also suffered from several other infections, including a UTI. Several of my doctors and therapists told me I was so far gone they didn't think I'd ever come back.
Well, I'm back. Of course I'm not quite my old self. Now it's all I can do to read a book or two a month. Writing is slowly coming back to my life. Medical professionals have told me I can expect it to take up to two years to feel like myself again.
Please contact me at Joanne.R.Fritz@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @JoanneRFritz.
UPDATE: September 2019. I am pleased to announce I'm now repped by Barbara Krasner of Olswanger Literary, LLC.
UPDATE February 24, 2020: I am thrilled to announce that my debut novel in verse, EVERYWHERE BLUE, will be published by Holiday House in Summer 2021!