Allison's Book Bag

Archive for the ‘Wild’ Category

Audrey Penn takes her one-woman educational program, the Writing Penn, into schools, libraries, and children’s hospitals where she shapes and refines her story ideas in partnership with kids. She is also highly sought after as a conference keynote speaker by groups of teachers and other professionals who work with children.Audrey is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Kissing Hand (and other books in the Kissing Hand series). She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

ALLISON: Share a favorite (or not so favorite) childhood moment with siblings.

AUDREY: One day my older brother said that he intended to stay at the fraternity house overnight. I was then allowed to use the double beds in his room for a sleepover with my girlfriend. About midnight when my friend and I were asleep, my brother came home. He tiptoed upstairs not to disturb anyone in the family and literally dove into bed. He was midair when my girlfriend opened her eyes and let out a scream. My brother landed next to my friend who was now curled up in bed shrieking. I reached over and turned on the light and burst out laughing. In my book Chester the Brave, Chester jumps onto his brother while sleeping. The idea and illustration came from that night with my girlfriend and brother.

ALLISON: You’ve had quite the career! What was it like to dance professionally? What was it like to serve as a choreographer for the US Figure Skating Team? How did you land those careers?

AUDREY: I was very lucky and attended extremely good ballet schools that flowed over into companies. The feeling of being on my toes and responding to music and story line was absolutely joyous. Jazz dancing was a totally freeing experience. The hard work it took to dance was ninety percent of the job. While dancing, I had a teacher from Russia who taught alignment. I began seeing things in athletes that could be improved by alignment study. Somehow the experiences snowballed into a brilliant second career.

ALLISON: What inspired you to write your first book?

AUDREY: My first book, Happy Apple Told Me, came out of a fairytale I wrote as a Christmas gift for friends I had in theater. I took things from my childhood journals, and my experiences in the theater, and developed a story with a serious theme told in a fanciful way. A year later I received a call from a publisher telling me that they wanted to publish my book. I asked them “What book?” They said, “Happy Apple Told Me.” I have never found out who submitted it for publication.

ALLISON: Your favorite thing about writing is getting to work with kids. What is a discouraging part and how do you handle it?

AUDREY: Getting stuck. It’s not as much writer’s block as it is resolving some problem in the storyline. My most effective means of dealing with it to date has been to go take a shower. I am amazed at the clarity I get standing under hot water.

ALLISON: You’ve always enjoyed writing and have learned lessons along the way about what it takes to be an author. What advice would you give to teachers of writing?

AUDREY: Every teacher comes with his or her own experiences in writing and story telling. The hard part for most people is getting started. Some students can’t wait for that blank piece of paper to fill with their imagination or special interest. Other children are terrified of that blank sheet of paper. If they are having a really hard time, I have them draw a picture and then describe the picture.

It took many years to develop my writing program, The Writers Curve, for the younger children. One of the first lessons I teach is to know your ending. They wouldn’t leave their house before knowing where they were going; they wouldn’t call a friend without knowing what friend was at the opposite end of the phone. An arrow needs a target. A story needs an ending.

I want teachers to teach awareness. Tell the student to see, hear, smell, taste, touch life in order to tell about it in a story.

Teach the students to keep a journal recording the things they learn each day.

It is important to first just get the story down, then come back to it and add the details during the rewriting process. Do not interrupt the creative time for corrections in grammar, etc – it stops the process in its tracks. These corrections come LAST.

And no ‘wenting.’ He went, they went, I went. I can’t see anyone went. I can’t draw anyone wenting. Make writing visual and tactile.

And have fun.

ALLISON: Why do you like to write about raccoons?

AUDREY: I was in a park with my four-year-old son and we took a ride on a small train that took us through the forest. We were midway through the ride when the train stopped and the engineer left to get a park ranger. We all thought there was a deer lying across the tracks. I told my son to stay in the train while I got out for a better look. I was completely surprised to see it was a mother raccoon and her tiny cub. While I watched, the mother took the cub’s hand and nuzzled his tiny palm. The cub then put his palm on his cheek. The Kissing Hand is that story.

ALLISON: You have two dogs. What has been your greatest adventure with them?

AUDREY: Sadly, we lost our boxer, Charlie, last year. And our lab-mix, Koko, just had the dog equivalent of a double “knee replacement” last year. She is doing very well for an old dog. Koko never leaves my side. She is my constant shadow. She sleeps in our bed and wakes us when she’s having a dream that she’s protecting the house from those pesky deer. She runs in her sleep kicking me in the shins usually then falls blissfully back to sleep while I’m wide awake. Koko is my rock and helps me type by walking on my computer keys.

ALLISON: What book is next?

AUDREY: I am finishing up the fourth book in my YA mystery series, which began with Mystery at Blackbeard’s Cove. I should have this one, Blackbeard’s Legacy: Shared/Time, out by the 300-year anniversary of Blackbeard’s death, November 22, 2018. I am always developing several other stories at the same time, but it’s too soon to talk about anything else as yet.

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Marie Letourneau is a full-time illustrator and graphic artist, with a BA in Fine Arts from Hofstra University’s New College on Long Island. She has done design work for (and appeared on) The Nate Berkus Show, and The Revolution with fashion icon Tim Gunn. In 2014, Marie was a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards for her stationery shop Le French Circus, on Etsy. She loves animals, beets, and roller skating. Marie is the author and illustrator for Argyle Fox. She and her family live on Long Island, New York.

ALLISON: Your bio indicates that you made books as a child. Do you still have one, and if so, why, and please describe? Or do you remember one that you gave as a gift, and if so, why, and please describe?

MARIE: I think only one of my childhood books exist. My aunt has a book I made for her when I was about 11 or 12. I think it was about a forest-dwelling creature called a “Blump” (sort of a cross between a gnome and a hobbit) I don’t remember the storyline, but it was based off of a stuffed toy I won at an amusement park.

ALLISON: What other interests did you have a child?

MARIE:Art in general was my main interest. But I also loved roller skating (which served me later in life when I joined women’s roller derby!)

ALLISON: Share an unforgettable memory from adolescence.

MARIE: I was 13 and my sister, Michelle and I were at the beach. Suddenly a baby whale appeared and we swam out past the breakers to meet it. We went back every day for a week to ‘play’ with it.

ALLISON: Is there someone who helped you become an artist that you can tell us about, and how they influenced you?

MARIE: My parents and family always encouraged me to pursue art. I also had some great teachers in school – namely, Celeste Topazio (elementary school) and Don Bartsch (jr & sr high). I am so grateful to them both.

ALLISON: When did you also become an author, and why?

MARIE: I always liked to write stories. As a kid I was constantly creating comic strips, writing plays and making my own books. It wasn’t until 2002 that I seriously started thinking about submitting my work and pursuing a career as an illustrator.

ALLISON: What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

MARIE: Practice as much as you can. Work on developing a style, but be patient with yourself. These things take time.

ALLISON: You have two dogs and a cat. What has been your most fun adventure with them? Or what has been one of their fun solo adventures?

MARIE: Every day is an adventure. They are constantly getting into mischief of one kind or another. Like the time I found one of my dogs standing on our piano. I didn’t even know she played.

ALLISON: Please tell us more about your love of beach glass.

MARIE: There’s something about the colors and shapes that fascinate me–like little jewels. Knowing they have been in the ocean long enough to be shaped and smoothed, then suddenly ending up in my hand is extremely cool. I’m very particular about which pieces I take home. They need to have been well-worn by the ocean.

ALLISON: What’s something quirky about yourself?

MARIE: I like to collect old things. Old film projectors, dial-up telephones, typewriters, trunks, etc. I have a lot of my grandparents stuff, including a very heavy, metal (iron, I think) Art Deco table fan. It still works. My grandfather kept all of his things in immaculate working order.

ALLISON: What’s your next book and/or creative project?

MARIE: I’m in the process of brainstorming this one. I have a couple of ideas. I can’t really say exactly what it will be, but it may just involve an adventure at sea.

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The better the quality, the harder it is for me to resist a Newfoundland picture book. This summer, during an annual visit to my home province, I succumbed to temptation and bought three relatively current titles. Each tells an engaging story, boasts attractive illustrations, and even educated me about the world where I grew up. One can’t always say that about regional books and so I’m super proud to introduce three must-read books to you.

A “national best seller” for three consecutive years, Newfoundland and Labrador Lullaby is a soothing ballad written by songwriter Mary Jane Riemann. Each page of this board book contains short and simple phrases, mostly about six to eight words and one to three syllable words. Several of the spreads feature contrasting phrases. For example, “When the sun rises …. Under moonlit skies.” There’s always the reassuring refrain: “I love you.” The artwork is just as charming and sweet. I appreciate too how the paintings capture the multi-faceted culture of the island. Not only are puffins and whales featured, but so are hockey and picnics. The back pages contain ten bulleted points with random interesting facts such as who the first settlers were and what the provincial wildlife is. My favorite tidbit, simply because of the cute wording, is: “Newfoundland is an island. To get here you must fly, take a boat, or be born here.” If you scan the QR code on the back cover, you can hear the song while looking at the book with your little ones!

A Puffin Playing by the Sea is also based on a song. Author Gina Noordhof has rewritten “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to contain a Newfoundland flavor. As a representative on the Canadian Tourism Commission for four years, Noorhof had the unique opportunity to realize how special and individual each province is—including her own. With the help of a whimsical puffin character, aptly picked as the puffin is Newfoundland’s provincial bird, Noordhof highlights twelve distinct features of the island. The first spread starts out with the familiar refrain: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.” Then Noordhof mixes up the traditional carol by ending with the words: “A puffin playing by the sea.” Pictured is a colorful line-drawing of a puffin with a fish in its mouth and looking out to sea. The spread also contains an educational sidebar that details the origins and lifestyle of the puffin. Within the sidebar is also an actual photo of a puffin. On subsequent pages, all just as professionally-rendered, other gifts include: tea dolls, Norsemen, canines, caribou, lighthouses, seals, mummers, whales, codfish, fiddlers, and drummers. As with the Newfoundland and Labrador Lullaby, I appreciated diverse the subjects were that Noordhoff featured. Both those familiar and unfamiliar with Canada’s most eastern province will find themselves educated in an entertaining manner.

A Good Day for Billie is my only pick in this round-up that contains a tale told in a traditional narrative format. This picture book is the result of the author, Rodger Blake, telling bedtime stories to his children. At the forefront is a puffin who enjoys exploring the coastal shores of Newfoundland. One day while Billie is flipping seashells on the beach, he encounters a reddish-orange creature with eight legs. Lava instantly informs Billie that penguins and crabs being friends would be a waste of time. Billie leaves Lava alone but, for the entire rest of the day, both creatures wrestle with doubts about their decision. Although the text is of length that an adult will no doubt need to read the story, the tale is perfectly told. Part of what I most appreciate about A Good Day for Billie is how integral the island’s distinctive features are to the story. Billie encounters fishing villages, icebergs, and many other coastal images all as part of his journey to ask a friend for advice. Even the character of a whale named Charlie is a natural fit. Just as perfectly rendered are the gentle color-pencil illustrations of blue, green, orange, and brown hues. A Good Day for Billie is an absolute delight!

After stockpiling a collection of twenty-one Newfoundland picture books, I decided in 2013 that it was time to become more selective over my purchases. No longer would a title being written by a Newfoundlander and being set in my home province satisfy my literary tastes. Instead I wanted the quality of subsequent purchases to reach the level of the average commercial picture book. The three selections reviewed here I believe will tempt any young reader as much as they did me.

JeffKarrusThe last presenter I had the privilege to hear at the 2014 Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival was Jeff Kurrus. Associate editor of the award-winning wildlife publication NEBRASKAland magazine, Karrus lives in the Midwest with his wife and two-year-old daughter. Karrus is the author of Have You Seen Mary?, which was nominated for the Golden Sower Award, and The Tale of Jacob Swift.

Kurrus had been an editor for roughly 17 years before joining the staff of NEBRASKAland. He also taught at the high school and college levels, which gave him experience helping students improve their work.

Although his title at NEBRASKALand is associate editor, editing is just one part of what he does. His responsibilities include writing, photographing, and editing. In addition to his contributions to the magazine, Karrus also regularly posts to his NEBRASKAland blog. Kurrus’ job relies on a combination of his love for nature and writing.

In Editing Matters, Kurrus offered a bit of advice for those interested in editing for a living. “You’re going to have to go and combine talent with an extreme amount of drive.” He says there are many other people out there working to improve themselves as writers and editors, and more than likely they’ll be the ones who get the jobs.

Over the next few days, I’ll post highlights from his presentation, review his two books, and provide a photo post of a local wildlife safari. Save the dates: November 5-8!

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

ALLISON: If you were to show us your childhood in photographs only, what types of images might we see?

JEFF: Lots of hunting and fishing photographs, time with family, and me dressed in various sports uniforms—namely baseball.

ALLISON: You have said in interviews that you are a writer first. What is your earliest memory of enjoying to write?

JEFF: I used to write westerns as a child. I’d call them my “books” and have one of my older sisters write titles in bubble letters on the front pages. I remember writing stories on top of a toy box, so it was in my early elementary school years. Mostly they were carbon copies of what I had read in books or seen in shows. The first one was entitled “Tom Horn,” and it was my interpretation of the movie of the same name. I remember revisiting that story a few years later (already a reviser) to try to make it better. The stories were written on notebook paper and placed in folders. I have no idea where they are now but would love to read them.

ALLISON: If you could “rewrite” one part of your life, what would it be?

JEFF: I don’t have a ton of regrets. My childhood was great, followed by excellent high school and college years. There were rough times, of course, but re-writing would be a bit strong of a word.

But, I would do a few things differently, if I knew that nothing in my current life would change. I’d listen in elementary school music class and learn how to play a guitar, I’d take photo classes in high school, and I’d date my current wife even longer when we were kids instead of being around anyone else when I was younger. Most of all, I would have more fun on a day-to-day basis. Nothing is as stressful as it seemed like it was two weeks later. I wish I could have always kept that in mind.

ALLISON: You taught in high school and college, but now are an editor. What do you miss about being in the classroom?

JEFF: The interaction with students. Sharing what I know about the writing process and seeing them develop as creatives. Being inspired by their work. Talking about writing.

ALLISON: If you were to return to the classroom, what would miss about being an editor?

JEFF: Being able to make decisions on content selection for our publication. Interacting with professional writers and photographers. Sitting down on a day-to-day basis with graphic artists and designers and watching a project come to fruition.

WRITING BACKGROUND

ALLISON: You love nature. What has been your most dangerous experience in exploring the Nebraskan outdoors?

JEFF: While hunting one morning, the father of a very close friend became entangled with a tree stand and was screaming for help, which in turn led my dad (who was hunting with us) to find him first and trying to keep the man’s leg’s from breaking because of the way he was hanging from this tree. I had to jump on my dad’s bad back and cut this man out of these foot straps to free him from this stand in the tree. If he had been hunting alone he would have died. It was lots of adrenaline, pressing this 200 pound man above my head and lowering him to the ground. (Normally, I am very weak and the last person you want with you in a fight). It was a very scary experience.

ALLISON: You have taken many photographs of animals. What has been your most memorable animal moment?

JEFF: The one that always sticks out to me is photographing a snapping turtle on a roadside. The photo, while nice, isn’t altogether unique, but it always reminds me of my buddy that was with me and how he pulled the truck over without me even having to ask. He knew I would want to photograph the turtle, and it reminds me of how in sync two lifelong friends can be when they’re together.

ALLISON: As an editor, you are aware of the importance of revision. How do you teach its importance to students?

JEFF: I tell them it’s everything. The first draft is for yourself, and then you start thinking about audience. I do this by going into the classroom and showing students how to revise using my work as test subjects. The students, after five minutes, feel quite comfortable helping me edit my work. I teach them that everyone revises, and show them how many drafts I do for individual pieces and how long they take me. I do a lot of modeling appropriate revision practices, hoping something sticks with them in their own work.

ALLISON: What do you hope readers will gain from your two books: Have You Seen Mary? and Tale of Jacob Swift?

JEFF: A couple of things. I want students to learn about these species and their habitats. All animals are really cool for different reasons, and I hope these books are a jump start for students to continue their own outdoor development. I also want students to understand that there is more than one way to tell a story, and that having a mean character isn’t necessary. Some of literature’s greatest stories have conflict built on circumstance, and I think this is an interesting way to create tension without having bullies, mean-spirited people, etc. In Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, the conflict is Mount Everest and everything that is involved with trying to summit that peak. Even though it’s non-fiction, there’s something fascinating in that premise to me. Nature provides this outlet as well. Even when the golden eagle is trying to eat Jacob, it’s not doing so out of meanness. It’s doing so because golden eagles eat swift foxes. Nature just provides the perfect outlet for telling relatable stories to kids with fascinating photos.

ALLISON: What was it like to have Have You Seen Mary nominated for a Golden Sower award?

JEFF: It was amazing. Truly. I knew nothing about the award until schools starting contacting me and I found out how special it was to be included on this list. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and I am extremely grateful that so many students were able to learn about these amazing birds.

ALLISON: What’s next?

JEFF: That’s always an interesting question. Here’s what I’m working on right now, in no definite order: 1) The Magic Brush Shoppe, a short chapter book about a man who owns a hair brush store in a town where nearly everyone shaves their head. 2) The sequel to Have You Seen Mary? It’s a story I’ve been chasing for a long time. 3) Turtle’s Big Idea, a photo-fiction story about an animal Olympics being held on the tall grass prairie. 4) An unnamed photo-fiction project about an animal that just doesn’t think he’s good enough to be conserved.

Jeff CampbellJeff Campbell is a freelance writer and book editor. For twelve years he wrote about travel for Lonely Planet, coauthoring guidebooks on various destinations within the United States. In his current position of editor, one he has held for twenty years, Campbell specializes in animal intelligence and emotions. In particular, he has worked with Dr. Marc Bekoff on several books such as the The Emotional Lives of Animals. He has also written a book called Daisy to the Rescue which, as part of Zest tours, I will have opportunity to review tomorrow. Save the date: October 10!

ALLISON: As the author of Daisy to the Rescue, a book that celebrates the noble deeds and actions of animals, you must have an affinity with animals! What animal best describes your personality?

JEFF: I’m not sure I have a special affinity with animals, or not any more than anyone else does. That’s one of the points of my book, actually, or at least a running theme: the power of the human-animal bond. To me, I believe we all have a natural affinity or connection with animals. I think this bond is what motivates people to want to have animals in our lives to begin with, and it certainly seems to be what motivates dogs, cats, and other domestic animals to save someone’s life. Animals are part of every aspect of our society: in our homes as family members, as trained animals who work for us (like search-and-rescue and police dogs), and as therapy animals who help heal us. I tell rescue stories involving all these kinds of animals. I think our natural connection to other animals is profound, and it’s something we all possess. Some scientists even think our evolution of this connection helps define human beings as a species.

In a way, life-saving rescues demonstrate the power of this connection most dramatically: they show animals fighting to save people they love, even at risk to themselves. We can’t always know what the animal is thinking, but it’s pretty clear that this bond must be what often inspires them to act.

But what animal best describes me? Hmm. I don’t know. When I was young, I always wanted to be an otter. I thought they were funny, fun-loving, and smart. Like them, I wouldn’t mind eating lunch while floating on my back in the ocean. After writing this book, though, I’d like to be a dolphin. They may be the smartest, most compassionate animals on the planet–and certainly the most fun-loving.

ALLISON: How did you discover the stories for Daisy to the Rescue?

JEFF: I did a tremendous amount of research. I scoured books about animals and animal intelligence, and I of course used the Internet. But I wanted to make sure that every rescue story I told was verified and accurate, so I always had multiple sources for every story. In the end, I found well over a hundred life-saving rescue stories, most within the last 10-15 years, and I chose the 50 best to highlight.

In selecting the stories, though, I also wanted to have as many different types of animals as possible. This isn’t just a dog book. I include about 15 different species, which includes gorillas, dolphins, monkeys, seals, beluga whales, a parrot, a pot-bellied pig, horses, rabbits, cats, and kangaroos.

ALLISON: What is your most memorable personal experience with animals?

JEFF: Two encounters with wild animals come to mind. One was many years ago, at a dolphin research center in Florida. After the presentation, which involved the dolphins performing some learned tricks (but NOT like a SeaWorld show), I went down to speak to one of the trainers. As we talked, one of the dolphins threw seaweed at us, wanting to play. The trainer told me to throw it back, and the dolphin and I played “catch” for the next five minutes. It was the first time I’d interacted with a wild animal like that, and my first window into just how aware and smart animals can be.

The other was just a few years ago. I went snorkeling with manta rays at night in Hawaii. It was an awesome experience to be in the ocean with such enormous creatures, with wingspans from 16 to 30 feet. I don’t know what they made of us hovering over them as they did cartwheels in the ocean, feeding on plankton. But it was humbling and beautiful to witness.

ALLISON: Kirkus Reviews writes that one of the strengths of Daisy to the Rescue is “the way events are evaluated in comparison to typical behavior or within the context of the emerging field of the study of animal minds”. What inspired you to include insights on the science of animal behavior?

JEFF: I definitely wrote the book to celebrate animal heroes for their pure courage alone, but I am also fascinated by the question why. Why would an animal save someone’s life, and what does that tell us about the mind and heart of that individual and that species?

For this, I owe a huge debt to Dr. Marc Bekoff, who graciously wrote the foreword to my book. As a book editor, I’ve worked with Dr. Bekoff on four of his own books, all of which focus on ethology, or the science of animal minds. Dr. Bekoff is a passionate animal advocate, and his work sparked my own interest. Dr. Bekoff believes that animals think and know and feel much more than we usually give them credit for, but proving what animals know is very hard.

So, I very much wanted to look at life-saving rescues for what they might reveal about animal intelligence. Almost by definition, a life-saving rescue involves all of the “higher emotions” that we tend to think only humans possess: empathy, compassion, self-awareness, and altruism. If an animal saves a person, does that mean they possess all these attributes, or are they only acting blindly or unknowingly, perhaps out of instinct? Two famous stories I tell are of Jambo and Binti Jua, two captive gorillas who saved little boys who fell into their enclosures. When these gorillas showed compassion and caring for these injured boys, it changed our view of gorillas. King Kong, it turned out, could also be kind.

ALLISON: What do you most want readers to gain from Daisy to the Rescue?

JEFF: I hope it sparks the curiosity to ask these types of questions and know more about animals. I hope readers come away with a new appreciation of our connection to animals, how important and vital it is. We don’t care for animals so that, just in case, they might one day save our lives. We care for them because they make our lives better by their mere presence, and from what these stories tell us, animals can feel the same way. Hopefully, knowing that many species are capable of compassion, and have shown that they would indeed do something as incredible as save a human life, would lead us to care for animals as best as we possibly can.

ALLISON: Who most influenced your love of books and writing?

JEFF: I gotta give a huge shout-out to my mom. She is a huge reader, and as a kid I became one too as a result. I started writing my own stuff in middle school–poems and short stories–and I’ve been writing ever since in one way or another. What’s interesting is that, growing up, I only read fiction and hated nonfiction. But as I got older, that switched. I still love fiction, but now I’m just as eager to read nonfiction. There’s nothing like a well-written book to open your eyes to the world. One recent book I highly recommend is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Scary but important.

ALLISON: You teach creative writing to grade-school students. What has been the most successful lesson you have taught? The biggest failure?

JEFF: I love teaching writing to kids, but I don’t really think in stark, success-or-failure terms. What I’ve found is that we are each inspired by something different. Maybe it’s the topic, or the activity, or our mood that day. For every creative writing exercise I do, there are invariably a few kids who struggle with what to say, and others who fly across the page, unable to get words down fast enough. The next exercise, that could switch. Even when we struggle, there is almost always some nugget that’s worth saving. I guess, that would be my only criteria: if a writing exercise fails to spark anyone’s imagination, that’s failure. It hasn’t happened yet.

ALLISON: When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? Do you have advice for young people interested in pursuing writing careers?

JEFF: As I say, I started writing when I was in middle school. In college, I studied journalism, and that’s the first time I seriously thought I could make a living as a writer. In the end, I realized that being a daily reporter wasn’t my cup of tea, and I moved into book publishing, where I became an editor. After a decade or so editing books, I returned to writing when I became a part-time travel guide writer for Lonely Planet. I coauthored over a dozen guidebooks on the US, and loved it. Now, I do both. I write books and I edit books, and somehow scrape together a living.

As for advice, based on my own experience, I would say: Keep writing. Never stop, because you never know what may happen or where you’ll end up. Don’t expect a straight path in any career, but especially in a writing career. In terms of writing, I think the main things are to write regularly and to write passionately. You only get better through practice. And the best writing you’ll ever do is when you are sharing what moves you, what you care about, communicating what you feel is important. When you write with passion, a lot of writing issues tend to take care of themselves.

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Fall 2017

This fall I will be on hiatus except to post family news. Stay tuned!

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