Meet the Author: JoAnn Farb

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016

JoAnn Farb is the author of Compassionate Souls: Raising the Next Generation to Change the World and Get Off Gluten. JoAnn was a small child when the murder of Kitty Genovese shocked our nation, causing her to vow that she would never ignore injustice or harms, if her speaking up might prevent them. Years later, as a microbiologist working for big pharma, JoAnn saw first hand, that choices she was making every day were fueling terrible injustice and violence that she'd been taught (like everyone else) to "Not see" and an activist was born. When those who profited from the things that JoAnn was trying to raise awareness of eliminated options she had for educating the public, JoAnn took on the issue of free speech as well.

Farb will share her experience of becoming an activist at our 2016 Writers Conference.

Introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?

I am a former misfit-rebel, who surprised everyone by becoming a successful microbiologist with a global pharmaceutical company, only to walk away from the “golden handcuffs” for a life of meaning that was more in line with my values. I live with my husband and intermittently with our newly adult daughters, just outside of Lawrence Kansas, while I speak all over the country.

What kind of writing do you do?

I write to bring awareness, to inspire others, and to help create a more just, and healthy world and to pay forward the knowledge others have shared with me, that has enabled me to have a good life. I have written two books and several blogs and numerous articles.

How long have you been writing?

I first learned to love writing in 3rd grade when Mrs. Minger was my teacher at Briarwood Elementary school in Prairie Village, KS. She made me feel that my writing was special – I wish I could let her know now how grateful I am for her mentoring and how she changed my life.

Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?

It TOTALLY chooses me.

How many unpublished manuscripts are stuffed in your desk drawer (or in a folder on your computer)?

How small of a manuscript counts here?

What do you find most challenging or surprising about the writing process? The publishing process?

I am always surprised to find which of the things I write that most strike a nerve with others – both good and bad.

On what does your writing productivity depend? Is it a routine, a place, a special pen?

My elliptical. I put my laptop on the handlebars and the ideas and inspiration just start flowing right along with the sweat.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, and structure or even how well it flows at first – just get your thoughts down – then come back later and work on the details and polish.

To whom do you look for inspiration?

Film Producers James Laveck and Jenny Stein, Law Professor Gary Francione, and local hell-raiser Sidney Willens (he taught me how to be a more effective activist!)

What books do you recommend to fellow readers and writers?

The World Peace Diet, The End of Heart Disease, Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Proteinaholic, Loving and Leaving the Good Life, Mad Cowboy, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, Anatomy of an Epidemic, and Eat Like You Care. Check out Farb's full list of Favorite Things in the library catalog!