“Late Side of Midnight” available later this month
Recent retiree authors first book
Finding her niche

It was while working on poems for “Lyrical Iowa” that JoAn made the transition to children’s literature. She wrote a few poems for the children’s genre of the contest. After she retired from Vesterheim Museum in Decorah nearly three years ago, Stevenson took those poems and began formulating “Late Side of Midnight.” She researched rhyming stories and children’s literature before putting it all together.

“I learned how rhyming helps children learn how

Author

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By Jennifer Bissell

It’s never too late to find your passion. That is what Decorah resident JoAn Stevenson has discovered. A life-long book lover, Stevenson will soon add published children’s author to her resume when her debut book, “Late Side of Midnight” is released later this month.

A push from mom

Stevenson has always had a place for writing in her heart. While growing ing up in New Hampton and Storm Lake, she said

she always was reading, calling books her “saving grace” as a child. In high school, she wrote for the school newspaper.

It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that her writing passion was rekindled. Her mother, the late Lorene Conner, loved poetry and advocated for women around her home in Jefferson to submit their own works to “Lyrical Iowa,” an annual poetry publication. Lorene also encouraged her other daughters to submit their work.

At the time, JoAn was living in Waterloo. One day, while taking her Irish Setter to the dog park, Stevenson noticed the way the green grass was poking through the snow-covered ground. It inspired her

JoAn Stevenson of Decorah has authored her first children’s book. (Photo by Ashley Heier)

first published poem in “Lyrical Iowa.”

“That very first poem I wrote just came to me, so really, my mom kind of stirred something inside of me,” JoAn said.

It became a family affair, with Lorene, JoAn and other family members regularly seeing their work published.