Joyce V. Hansen On Writing Successfully For The African-American Children’s and Teen Market

Joyce Hansen

Name: Joyce V. Hansen

Hometown: New York

Based In: New York

Favorite Read: My favorite recent read is The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book is a masterpiece. She recounts the history of the great migration of African Americans out of the South searching for a better life in the northern and western states. Her book is nonfiction, but reads like a novel. I also recently read The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat and I was so moved by the skillful and poetic way she told her story.

Author Crush: My author crush is Langston Hughes. I wrote a lot of awful poetry when I was in high school, trying to imitate him. Reading his work though, helped me to find my own writer’s voice and influenced me as I tried to tell an African American story.

Ideal Writing Space: I have a tiny sunroom that I enjoy writing in.

First Book-Related Memory: When I think back on my childhood the first book-related memory is my mother reading to me.

Up Next: I hope another book or two.

What did you enjoy reading as a young adult?

When I was a young adult (1960’s), I don’t think there was a young adult market. You went from reading children’s books to adult books. I remember though reading Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk and I think this was a book that came close to being what we consider now a young adult novel. I also read a lot of Daphne Du Maurier and Charles Dickens. But I longed for books about my own people and by the 1960’s the Black Arts movement was beginning to explode and I read everything I could find about African and African American history. I also read James Baldwin and other fiction and nonfiction by African American writers.

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A lot has changed in the industry since your first book was published.

Because of the changes in the publishing Continue reading