Joanna Kadish was born on the coast of California under the shadow of the Santa Ynez Mountains in the hospital where her father worked as a doctor and her mother as a registered nurse. Under her father's watchful eye, she was born at sunrise in late August, which she views as a good omen. As the second oldest of a family of nine brothers and one sister, much of her youth was spent proving to her younger brothers that she could ride a horse and throw a ball just as well if not better than any boy. She learned how to train horses under the tutelage of one of the top western horsemen in the country at the time, Louie Cabral, who was famous in horseman circles for his ability to cajole horses to jump literal hoops of fire. When she was thirteen, on a bet, she attempted to train a mustang that had been captured in the wild and used on the rodeo circuit as a bucking horse. The horse proved untrainable, even Louie couldn't do it.
Her father had been a journalist before going to medical school, and from time to time, he would fire off op-ed pieces, which set a fire in Joanna's heart. She dreamt big dreams, and wanted to write for a living from early on. She would make up stories for the family's amusement on long car rides and at the dinner table. Despite her father's objections that she was going into a difficult if not impossible career, she received her undergraduate degree in English literature from UC Berkeley and went to work as a newspaper reporter in California, thinking that a more realistic goal, rather than starting out attempting to write novels.
For many years, Joanna worked for newspapers and magazines as a journalist and then later, writing and editing newsletters on finance and business-related matters for an accounting firm and a lobbying group for accountants. It was only after raising a family that she attempted a novel. So after taking various writing courses at local colleges which didn't teach her enough and was always unsatisfying, she went for her MFA in creative writing from Bennington College in Vermont, where she began writing her novel, Graffiti Planet, which she has yet to complete. The good news is that she's received a truckload of good advice, which makes her hopeful that she might finish it in the near future.
Joanna has also been working on a few short stories. She received an honorable mention for her short fiction "The Wedding" in Glimmer Train's New Writers' Award in 2014. And a couple of her journalism pieces won second place and honorable mention from the Society of Professional Journalists for op-ed and feature writing in 2006.