Writer Twins… Activate!
2014 grads and twin sisters Joelle and Jordan Hernandez are co-authors of a new children’s book
September 20, 2016
Joelle and Jordan Hernandez weren’t planning to write a children’s book. They were students in a video editing class taught by Chris Heidelberg, Ph.D., affiliate professor of communication, when Heidelberg suggested that they should take on the project—together.
“I sort of dismissed the idea initially,” said Joelle. But when Heidelberg mentioned the idea after class and again in the next class, the sisters started taking it seriously. “Jordan and I started to think of ideas on what the book could be about. We began writing and, about an hour or so later, had the first draft of the book!”
That book, Twin Tales: Sasha and Sophie Go to School, is the story of twin sisters who are starting kindergarten—but in separate classes for the first time.
The children’s book, which was two years in the making as Joelle and Jordan found a family friend to illustrate it and had it published, shares the characters’ emotions as they begin this new journey separately but together.
It’s an experience Joelle and Jordan can identify with after years of attending the same school—including Loyola University Maryland, where they both majored in communication with specializations in journalism and advertising, were members of the Black Students Association, worked as DJs at WLOY, and were TV show co-hosts at GreyComm, among other activities.
Today they are both project managers at MediaPlanet, helping produce advocacy and awareness campaigns on topics such as allergies and asthma, mental health, patient safety, and childhood wellness with industry leaders and celebrities like Daymond John, Buddy “The Cake Boss” Valastro, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, among others.
Writing together as an author team has worked well for the sisters.
“It 100 percent comes naturally,” Jordan said. “We have always done everything together. We each bring such different ideas to the table, but somehow they always fit perfectly.”
“It’s cool to be able to create characters, develop their personalities, and see them come to life through the illustrations,” Joelle said. “It’s also fun to be able to work together on this. Writing in rhyme does become a bit challenging at times, but it’s super rewarding when you can finally find the right words for the story line! We have been known to do a little dance when we come up with a really good rhyme.”
The twins already have two other Sasha and Sophie books in the works, and they plan to continue the series.
“The ideas are always coming!” Jordan said. “We were new to the whole writing thing and didn’t realize how well-received the book would be. Once we started reading the manuscript to our family and friends, we saw that we could take this show on the road… We began thinking of common experiences that all kids go through, and we built ideas for stories based on those experiences. Now, any time we flip through old pictures or recount memories, new book ideas are born.”
Both Jordan and Joelle say they feel they use their Loyola education every day.
“The communication skills, both written and verbal, are used every day on the phone with clients and in the office with co-workers,” said Joelle. “While I was a student, I truly embraced cura personalis, and I try my best to keep that up now that I have graduated.”
Jordan agreed. “Whether it’s using the strong writing skills to give a presentation, or tapping into the confidence I built speaking with alumni on the phone at Phonathon to pitch clients at work, to just making sure I still upload the value of cura personalis in my own life, my Loyola experience is ingrained in everything I do.”