From writing stories in the classroom as a child, to a fully published author, Joanna Knowles is delighted to finally be living her dream.

The 38-year-old, from Bournemouth, has always felt inspired to write, and grew up with her head in a book.

Her passion remained and she has continued writing throughout her life. While her children were young, she completed an BA (Hons) in English Literature through the Open University; often juggling classic literature with baby bottles and is now in the throes of a master’s degree in Creative Writing.

Joanna was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease in 2015, but, determined not to let it get in her way, she turned the experience around and began blogging about it, resulting in a successful blog that saw her writing published both online and in magazines in the UK and in Europe.

The blog reached out to all in a humorous, yet honest, account of coping with an auto-immune disease, and the feedback encouraged her to continue with her passion to write and finish her first novel.

Taking seven years to finish, Female Fireflies was longlisted for the BPA First Novel Award in 2018 and gave Joanna the confidence boost to self-publish and hopes readers will be inspired by its tagline: ‘A heart-warming journey of heartache and betrayal showing the true strength and endurance of four ordinary women who, when together, shine like the true fireflies they are.’ Joanna feels passionate about the link between reading and writing, feeling they go hand in hand and hopes one day to have the opportunity to visit local schools and encourage and inspire children to pick up a pen or book and consume them.

"The excitement of reading and writing can weaken as children see both habits as chores," she says. "I want to bring back that enthusiasm and encourage all children to write and read anything that they are interested in.

"Reading gives the child an opportunity to jump into an imaginary world of excitement, it opens up their minds to the impossible, and it encourages them to view life as an opportunity to do good."

Joanna has now completed two novels and is in the throes of writing her third and hopes to one day write a children’s novel.

Female Fireflies is available now through Amazon Kindle/Kobo.

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