Author Spotlight: Joni Downey

Hometown: Johnsburg

Latest Book: “Respect Wears Many Hats”

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million and more

What’s your book about?

The Characters of Character [books – there are 36 in all] teach good behavior, perseverance, healthy habits, respect, good manners, being responsible, to be a friend, to be kind and not bully and to be proud of who you are. In 2005, they all earned a National Promising Practice Award which only two in the state of Illinois were awarded, and we are one of them. Each character has a Resource book filled with reproducible templates, and activities, bulletin board displays and some have additional books, for instance, Shape Up With Healthy Hippo teaches colors and shapes.

Where did the idea come from?

In 2007, I formed a nonprofit organization and have written more than 30 books. My family is my biggest fan, from my husband who dresses in character costumes and even wrote a book with me, titled “Tune Into Good Character,” and my kids from day one have been key. This is my passion, and they allow me to have fun with it.

As a matter of fact, this is what my husband wrote to me a few years ago: “All I ask for in return is to make my wife’s dream come true, good ideas come and go, but the ones that mold a child’s life should surely grow and grow. And this will make my wife’s dream come true, and Lord, I thank you.” – “All I ask in Return,” by Joe Downey

What genre is your book, and why were you drawn to it?

I created these characters out of love for children.

Who is the intended audience?

From preschool age to adults, they are a wonderful visual reminder for society to be of good character.

Why is this story important to you?

It is my passion, my Ph.D. is put to good use, and my passion, heart and determination to make a difference in the life of a child, one child at a time.

How long did it take you to write? What was your process?

Years, and still more in the making.

How are you publishing this book and why (traditional/indie/self-publishing)?

It is difficult to get in with a large publishing house. I self-published. I do, however, have a title, “Will You Be My Friend, We Really Are No Different,” through a publishing house. I use CreateSpace, which then puts the book on Amazon, etc. The only difficulty is many of the stores will not put you on the shelf, only online.

What is your education/background?

I’m a wife, a mom and president of Characters of Characters. I graduated in 1977 and am following my dream.

How/why did you decide to write a book?

After earning the National Promising Practice, I knew I was onto something. The difficulty is getting it out in society with no funding. I know it took Walt Disney a lot of time and Dr. Seuss, and because it is something the world needs, I will never give up.

Who are your favorite authors?

Dr. Seuss

What’s next for you?

I’m offering Mommy & Me Painting Classes to help get my books out into the community and could use some help.

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