Join us for a new interview with one of our favorite authors, Josie! Let's learn about her life and what inspires her work.
From the time she was nine years old, Josie's dream was to be an author. She shelved her handmade books in the school library and waited for her big break. When she was thirteen, she received her first rejection letter from Golden Books. But Josie never gave up on her dream.
Decades later, her dream finally came true. Josie is now an award-winning author with over 60 resources published internationally. She writes under two pseudonyms; generalized fiction/non-fiction as Montano; resources on diversity and Autism as Santomauro. Josie also works freelance with a multitude of journal articles, narrative scripts, and regular columns published. She’s also a playwright, scriptwriter & film producer.
Josie loves to write and always has a pencil handy so she can write down any ideas that come to her. She wants to write until she's a ‘really’ old lady in a nursing home full of other authors!
AAPC: As an award-winning author with more than sixty books published globally, what motivates you to create so much beautiful content?
Josie: I just want to write and make a difference in people's lives, whether it is minimal or significant. I want to put a smile on a child's little face, help a person forget their worries even for a few minutes, or provide the solution to the educator with an 'ah' moment in their class. So, I write knowing my theme or inspiration and see where it takes me. Because it comes from an organic natural space, it doesn't come across as intentionally didactic.
AAPC: You started to write at the age of nine, and currently, you are working on a unique biography of one of the top names for the autism community, Tony Attwood. How could you describe this fantastic adventure?
Josie: Who knew that nine-year-old who self-published her little stories and placed them in the school library to borrow would write an international biography after almost fifty years? It certainly has been an adventure. Professor Attwood's personal story is not only inspiring but is full of genuinely exciting life experiences. Writing his biography has been a fantastic task and feat to accomplish.
AAPC: You are focusing on different topics and styles in your books/resources. What were the gaps that you needed to fill by creating the content? Do you see any difference in those gaps now compared to twenty years ago?
Josie: I find my stories have been written out of the need to fill gaps; it started with the very first booklet I wrote for my son nearly thirty years ago. There was a massive gap in resources on Autism diagnosis, nothing for the Autistic child or their family, so I wrote them all. Also, I was one of the first to create a resource full of tools and strategies within the education system. This only came to be because I was a teacher aide at his school. As soon as we fell into a 'hole,' I dug ourselves out by creating a strategy/tool to cater to my son and the education team so we could all be on the same page. Nowadays, a tsunami of resources is available, which is good but can also be overwhelming for the new people whose child receives a diagnosis. Where do they start?
AAPC: We know it is challenging to pick but what is your favorite title(s) of your own resources? And how do you feel when you think you have helped thousands of individuals, parents, and teachers with your resources?
Josie: It is difficult to choose, as they are all my 'babies.' But the one closest to my heart explains the diagnosis of Autism because it was personal and was written specifically for my son. Yet this resource has helped thousands worldwide, and it brings me joy to know that I've made and am still making a difference in people's lives, providing words of comfort when they need it most.
AAPC: What would be your suggestions to the new authors for being creative and passionate about writing?
Josie: You just must write, learn the craft, join a writers’ group, sign up for creative writing classes, etc. Even though you may have a talent, you also need to learn the craft of writing. Don't take criticism or rejection personally; publishing is all about business, and if your story doesn't fit at the time, it may fit in with another publisher. Even after being published all these years, I still receive rejection letters. Just move on, and if you believe in your story, someone else will.
AAPC: Any word about AAPC Publishing?
Josie: I have worked with AAPC since 2000, when I was contacted to ask permission to use a poem, I wrote in one of their books. Twenty-two years later, they have contracted many of my resources, with more to come!
It had always been a pleasure to meet with the previous publishers, Keith Myles (vale) and Brenda Smith-Myles of AAPC Publishing. Whether in New York City, South Africa, or Sydney, we always took the opportunity to have a chat.
I have a soft spot for AAPC as it was and is very family oriented. They publish resources that provide necessary and essential content as well as resources that comfort. I wish the new publishers Serdar and Nihan much success as they keep the Myles legacy alive.
Thank you Josie! We are excited to read your new titles!