Joseph Goodrich, Author Spotlight

Ellie the elephant and her parents have just moved, an experience that makes Ellie feel scared, sad, and sometimes even angry. Luckily, Ellie has the friendship and guidance of four magical friends, her emotional dragons! Together, the dragons know just what to say when Ellie’s feelings bring her down!

Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons presents delightful characters whose loving approach to emotional intelligence will teach kids empathy, help them understand their own emotions, and provide them with strategies to get through difficult moments.

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Joseph Goodrich whose book Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons captivated my children from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love children books and are looking for the perfect read for children but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Joseph Goodrich, a biography of the author and an interview between us both will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Joseph Goodrich!

Life is complex and full of challenges, especially for children who are constantly learning how to engage with others while developing their emotional and social intelligence. My goal as a children’s author is to help children understand and manage their emotions through storytelling. As a Marine Corps husband and dad, I rely on stories to remain engaged with my children while I am away from home. My children are the inspiration behind this part of my life.

Now, how wonderful does Joseph Goodrich sound?! The author is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between us both, I hope that you enjoy the author’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself

I grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Bacon Academy High School in Colchester, Connecticut.  I joined the Marine Corps in 1999 three weeks after graduating.  I met my wife, Lauren, in middle school and we have been together since high school.  We have two boys, ages 6 and 3, and two cockapoo dogs.  My military specialty is KC-130J pilot but I am currently working with Marine Corps Recruiting Command as the Assistant for Officer Procurement (AOP) for First Marine Corps District, Garden City, New York.  I love learning which is why I chose to go to continue my college journey for over 18 years.

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

This answer is twofold.  First, during my Doctorate program at Northeastern University, I was introduced to the concept of emotional intelligence and mindfulness.  Much of the research I used for my dissertation suggested a positive correlation with emotional intelligence and success of kids in school and young adults growing into successful adults (at work and school). Second, as I Marine Corps pilot, I am on the road away from my family constantly and reading books to my kids was a great way to remain connected to them.  I always wanted to publish a book and I thought maybe there is a way to accomplish this goal while creating a book that teaches kids a critical life skill.  The result of these two scenarios led to the development of Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

Writing is a powerful tool.  It is a great way to keep your thoughts in check, especially when you have a little obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) like I do.  I write everything down in a notebook because you never know when your thoughts will lead to a great idea.  If you want to be a writer, you have to write.  The more interesting question would be what is your advice for aspiring writers who want to publish a book?  This question is more complex to answer.  There are many means and ways of getting a thought on paper published, however, money and finding someone with publishing experience are required if you want to do it right.  I had no publishing experience and the handful of independent publishers that I contacted about Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons wanted nothing to do with me or my story.  Nevertheless, I pushed forward and found an incredibly talented illustrator, Traci Van Wagoner, from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) website.  I interviewed dozens of illustrators before I found Traci, and I am grateful we were able to work so well together.  Unlike writing a novel or other non-picture book, children’s picture books require the author’s words and the illustrator’s pictures to unite on all levels.  Traci understood my goal with the book and its characters and her illustrative style was exactly what I wanted with this book.  Once we had a draft of the book layout, I reached out to a handful of publishers to see if they would be interested in representing the book and numerous publishers responded with interest.  I chose to go with Wisdom House Books for their attention to detail and high publishing standards.  In the end, I would recommend writers to interview potential publishing companies and illustrators to ensure their book goals are understood by all parties involved.  If you go with the wrong illustrator or publisher, you could find yourself losing out on a lot of money and time.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

I love to read.  One of the most interesting things to me has always been the author’s story.  I want to know what experiences inspired a writer to spend so much of their life on a specific book.  The backstory of some authors can be more interesting than the book itself.  In Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons, the most important thing is the subtle way the dragons help Ellie deal with her emotions in various situations.  Any book that attempts to teach useful life skills to kids is a win win for all parents and kids.

What is your writing process like?

I spend a lot of time away from my family to include many nights in hotel rooms.  When I get an idea, whether good, bad or indifferent, I write it down in a notebook.  I also keep the notebook by my bed so that I can write down any thoughts that may be preventing me from falling asleep.  Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons came to me in the middle of the night at a hotel in Delaware.  I could not sleep because the idea of emotional dragons seemed to be a potentially good idea for a children’s book.  I got out of bed and began to write.  By 3am I had a draft of the book written.  It would go through at least a dozen edits before it was acceptable for publication.  Wisdom House Books was great with ensuring my book met the quality publication standards required for a book of this nature.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

Most of the day is spent writing down ideas and concepts that catch my attention.  I do not elaborate on those ideas until my drive home in Long Island, New York traffic or at home when I am winding down from the day.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors include: Ernest Hemingway, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Abraham Lincoln, and Shel Silverstein.  There are many others I like, however, these are the most common authors most readers will recognize.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more books wonderful books from you?  

In a perfect world, I would love to continue to write children’s books that help teach kids emotional intelligence and/or mindfulness skills through storytelling.  I already have ideas for more Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons books that focus on other difficult life events like going to school or birth of a brother or sister.  Luckily, this book has been positively received thus far so it may motivate me to start book two soon!

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Joseph Goodrich! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more about Joseph Goodrich, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Amazon U.S. – Amazon U.K. – Goodreads

Joseph Goodrich: Website – Illustrator – Twitter – Instagram – LinkedIn – Facebook

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Zania Campos
Zania Campos

Awesome work Sir! Not to dote but this incredible human was my Officer Selection Officer (OSO) in 2012. I had my doubts like many candidates embarking on the transformation to becoming a leader of Marines but LtCol Goodrich and his team (Hi Patti & Nick!) provided unwavering support. I’ll never forget graduation day when he came all the way from Albany, NY to Quantico, VA to pin on my “butterbars” with other members of my family. I’ve had incredible mentors throughout my career but this gentleman set the tone. I too ended up in aviation working alongside Marines who ensure… Read more »

Joseph Goodrich
Reply to  Zania Campos

Zania, Thank you for the kind words. I am happy to see you bloom into a very talented and successful Marine Corps Officer. I had a lot of fun working with the talented Traci Van Wagoner on this book. I hope to have more children’s books focused on teaching EI skills in the future.