Colorado author, wife and mother of three, Jojo Watts, answers our questions about her creative journey and life as a writer.
You attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. What were some steps that lead to this accomplishment?
Jojo Watts: My experiences as a high school drama student and Thespian member sharpened my skills and qualified me for an audition to attend the Academy. Then during my senior high school trip to New York City, I realized my dream to move to NYC to pursue a creative and artistic career. However, long before receiving my bachelor's degree from The New School for Social Research and attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, my grandmother was a huge influence in my life, constantly instilling in me to follow my dreams… I always remembered that.
Your novel, Imagine That, tells the story of a young woman’s journey of self-discovery after she moves to New York City with the dream of becoming an actress. What made you decide to write this story as a novel rather than a memoir?
JW: I’d been wanting to write this story for quite some time, and the moment I decided to write Imagine That I knew I wanted to tell the story with honesty and truth. By doing so, I wanted to give the characters anonymity, which is why it is a novel and not a memoir.
What are some things you love about living in Colorado?
JW: Moving to Colorado was a lifestyle change for our family. We didn't know what to expect, but the move unified our family and grounded us away from the hustle and bustle of the East Coast. There are so many amazing things I love about Colorado. Besides the weather, I love the healthy lifestyle that many of us are striving to achieve. Whether it's making healthy choices about food; getting outside to enjoy the many trails, skiing, and hiking; or just a simple walk in nature—not many states have that.
What is the biggest thing you have learned from becoming a published author?
JW: The biggest thing I've learned about being a published author is how kind, supportive and encouraging everyone has been to me. It has taught me to trust myself, believe in myself and own my story. I am no longer afraid to make mistakes.
What inspires you?
JW: I am truly fortunate to not have to look outside of my immediate family for inspiration. My husband, Taylor and our three kids, Wyatt, Hunter and Mayor all inspire me daily.
Their words of encouragement are always "follow your passion, Mom!” It’s amazing how my kids are now giving me advice. Hunter recently said, "It's my job to hype you up Mom, soon big things will come!” Their words empower me on this journey to reinvent myself.
Are you working on anything new?
JW: I’m working on a new book called The Anchor. It's a story about a mother grounded in her strength, solid in her values, relentlessly navigating the chaos of raising young black boys to men, and raising a daughter to believe in her voice while uplifting her in an environment of self-empowerment.