Joan Wright Mularz
I soon joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). With help from a writing friend, I launched Children’s Writers by the Sea for MG/YA writers on December 13, 2008 (link to web page describing CWBS).
In a thirty plus year career as a low vision optometrist in academic settings in Boston, I wrote lectures, grant proposals, and published scientific papers,with occasional poetry among family and friends.
A patient of mine inspired Night Eyes for Butterflies, my first MG novel about a nine-year-old boy, legally blind from birth, who catches a butterfly with his friend’s help but believes he has to catch one solo to prove what he can do.
SpunOut is a Young Adult novel of a high school senior who suffers her first multi-symptom migraine the day of her prom. Her poetry helps as she struggles to respond and her expectations are forced to change.
To improve my writing, I’ve taken a children’s fiction-writing courses at North Shore Community College, Grub Street and SCBWI conferences. I attended the first Frost Farm poetry workshop, Rhina Espaillat’s American Poetry lyceum course, am a student in Alfred Nicol’s ongoing poetry workshop, and member of a poetry group in Newburyport where I live.
I was born into a large family on an island in the middle of New York Harbor. Since then, I have lived in three countries and have enjoyed many travel opportunities. I love learning languages and exploring new places.
A two and a half year stay in Italy with my family became the inspiration for my first E. T. Madigan mystery for young people, Upheavals at Cuma. Six years in Germany led to the writing of the second E.T. Madigan mystery,White Flutters in Munich, which Kirkus Reviews called "A captivating read infused with a sense of history and culture."
I have always loved books and writing and drawing. As a parent and a teacher, I have enjoyed sharing that love. I've written curriculums, including one recognized by the Global Junior Challenge, as well as educational grants, children's books for my own use in the classroom, and I always make notes about the places I travel.
When not traveling, I divide much of my time between a small town in Massachusetts and a small town in Maine. The latter place is where my third mystery will be set and has also been the inspiration for my alliterative alphabet book, Down West - the Other Maine.
I am a member of NESCBWI and have participated in writing groups in Massachusetts and Maine and writing workshops at Salem State University, the Boston Book Festival and with children's book author Mark Karlins. I have exhibited at the New England Authors' Expo and presented on community TV.
I began writing while watching the Electric Company. Crayon and construction paper were originally my favorite medium, as I copied Morgan Freeman’s ‘Easy Reader’ with nice, round a’s. Quickly I tired of this approach and begged to learn cursive. The rest, as they say, is history.
In my previous life, I earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Georgia. My dissertation, Dispositional Happiness: Pooh vs. Eyor, was printed on a dot-matrix printer and bound in beautiful leather and stored in the basement of the UGA, Athens library. My mother enjoyed the dedication and my father read the entire thing and was able to summarize the 200-plus page research in two sentences. According to my nephew, Adam, my research has been cited in publications fifty one times, which was a total surprise to me!
I have spent the last 8 years devoting my free time to working with my sons' Destination Imagination teams. Last year we reached the pinnacle of success, BOTH teams advanced to Global Finals! Here is a photo gallery of the teams' performances through the years.
I have taken multiple writing classes at Grub Street, in Boston. I am currently writing a middle-grade book set in Salem, Massachusetts about, of course, witches.