In the Spotlight: Leila Howland

May 6th, 2015

There are few things I enjoy more than shining a spotlight on authors and books that I love. I have a treat for you all today — Leila Howland is stopping by my blog to dish about her delightful new book The Forget-Me-Not Summer.

LeilaHowlandsmallLeila Howland

Isn’t she gorgeous? Talented, too. Leila is best known for her YA novels Nantucket Blue and Nantucket Red, but she’s got something new up her sleeve for readers this Spring, with the release of her first middle-grade novel.

For anyone who has sisters (that would be me, the eldest and bossiest of three), for anyone who’s ever dreamed of a summer on Cape Cod, I guarantee you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with The Forget-Me-Not Summer. I did, right from the moment I first met Marigold and Zinnia and Lily. How could I resist a trio of sisters with names like these?

FMNSummerHC(1)

 

Q:  So Leila, tell us a bit about how this book came about.

A:  Several years ago I rescued a puppy. He needed two long walks a day around my Los Angeles neighborhood. On one of our walks I saw a girl I recognized from a TV show, hanging out with her friends from school. She was so poised and stylish, and I wondered what it would be like to be her. Then I thought, even more interesting, what would it be like to be her quirky little sister? Even though I’d lived in L.A. for years, for the first time I was really noticing the flowers in my neighbors’ beautiful gardens. I started looking up the names of the flowers and before I knew it Marigold, Zinnia and Lily had started to come to life in my imagination. 

 Q:  Your previous books – Nantucket Blue and Nantucket Red – were young adult novels. What drew you to middle grade? Were there any particular surprises/challenges in writing for this audience?

 A:  I absolutely love writing for teenagers. However, teenagers tend be more inwardly focused than tweens. After reading a lot of YA, I rediscovered a love for the more outwardly focused middle grade fiction. I loved connecting to a character’s search for meaning in the wider world. I started with Walk Two Moons [by Sharon Creech], moved on to When You Reach Me [by Rebecca Stead], and then I was hooked! Although I wouldn’t say it surprises me, I am continually in awe of how deep and profound middle grade fiction often is.   

 Q:  Your books (at least so far) are all set in New England – Nantucket and now Cape Cod, to be exact. Is this setting particularly meaningful for you?

 A:  I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and spent many summer days in small coastal towns in New England. There is something so unique and idyllic about New England in the summertime. Now I live so far from there. The Los Angeles summers are brutally hot and dry and I long for those small town New England moments. Writing about them is a way for me to be there in spirit.

 Q:  Let’s talk about family dynamics. The Forget-Me-Not Summer features three sisters (I was the eldest of three sisters, by the way!). Where were you in the sibling lineup? What prompted you to write about three sisters?

 A:  I grew up with an older brother, Gifford, and a younger sister, Maryhope. (And later in life I was lucky enough to acquire an amazing younger stepsister, Elizabeth.)  While Gifford and I were always relatively harmonious together, my relationship with Maryhope could be a little fraught. I wasn’t always the nicest big sister. As an adult I also know that some of that behavior stemmed from me trying to negotiate my place in the world and forge my own identity. I thought that tension would be rich material for a middle grade novel and a fun and meaningful way to honor the close bond that Maryhope and I now share.

 Q:  Is there an Aunt Sunny in your life?

 A:  I was lucky enough to grow up with my Great Aunt Dot, who lived just down the street from us in Providence. We had tea together every afternoon. Just like Aunt Sunny, she was a science teacher for many years. She was the kindest and wisest person I have ever met. A few summers ago when I was doing research for Nantucket Blue, I connected with an old friend and colleague of hers who lives on the island. She made me laugh as she told me stories about growing up on Nantucket. She also brought memories of Aunt Dot vividly to life. I knew I had to write about a smart, funny and wise great aunt.

 Q:  Favorite books when you were Zinnia and Marigold’s age?

 My favorite book hands down was Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. I must have read it ten times.

 Q:  What are you reading now?

 A:  The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. One day I’d love to write a novel in verse. I bet it’s a lot harder than it looks.

Q:  Favorite thing about being a writer?

A:  Letters from readers!

Q:  What’s next for you, writing-wise?

A: Readers can look for a sequel to The Forget-Me-Not Summer, which will be out next year. It’s called The Brightest Stars of Summer, featuring the Silver sisters back in Pruet for another season of fun in the sun!

Q:  Anything else we haven’t covered that you’d care to share?

A:  I’m obsessed with the new ice cream store near my house. It’s called Salt & Straw and they have the craziest flavors. My favorite one so far is almond brittle with salted ganache. 

Ooo, Salt & Straw! I know it well — it actually started here in Portland, Oregon. You have to try their Honey Lavender!  Yum…

Thanks so much, Leila, for stepping into the spotlight and visiting with us today! And now, my friends, a giveaway: a copy of The Forget-Me-Not Summer awaits one of you — just leave a comment below, sharing one of your favorite summer memories with us. Winners will be chosen at random at midnight on May 17th. US and Canada only, please. Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook or Twitter or other social media for additional entries. (And if you tweet or blog or otherwise share on social media, please leave a link in the comments below so I can assign you an extra entry.) 

 

In the Spotlight: Nancy McCabe

January 28th, 2015

As many of you know, I’ve started a new occasional feature on my blog — a series of author interviews called In the Spotlight. I have so many friends who are writing so many amazing, wonderful,  stellar books, books that you simply MUST know about and read, that I decided it’s time I got busy and shared them with all of you!

Stepping into the spotlight today is Nancy McCabe. We’re online friends, thanks to a listserv for people who love Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books! It’s amazing how books bring people together, isn’t it?

Nancy McCabe

Nancy McCabe

Nancy is a professor of writing and director of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and she also teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Spalding University. How she manages to fit in time to write on top of her teaching responsibilities is impressive!

Another thing that Nancy and I share, in addition to a love for all things Betsy-Tacy, is a love of literary travel. Some of you may recall hearing about my trip to England in search of Jane Austen (click here to read the article I wrote about it for The Christian Science Monitor). That’s small potatoes compared to what Nancy did, though! She literally criss-crossed North America to visit the settings for a number of her favorite children’s books (many of which happen to be my favorites, too!). The result is her wonderful new book FROM LITTLE HOUSES TO LITTLE WOMEN: REVISITING A LITERARY CHILDHOOD (University of Missouri Press).

book cover

And now it’s time to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea, and settle in for a visit with Nancy.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for your book and how it came about?

A: I’ve always loved children’s literature and have taught a few classes in it. In my early forties, when my daughter was young, I started rereading favorite books from my own childhood and talking about them with my friend Sara. During those years, I lost my mother and her last living sister, both of whom had been a huge influence on my childhood reading, and during those years, I started making trips to tourist sites related to my favorite authors.

At first I was just doing most of this for fun, but I kept journals on my reading and my travels and they began to evolve into a book, a travel and reading memoir with literary and cultural criticism blended in. Since I am not a scholar of children’s literature, and in fact didn’t enjoy critical writing when I was in graduate school, I felt a lot of trepidation throughout the process and wasn’t sure if I’d ever finish or publish it. But I found myself getting into many inspiring conversations with others who’d loved the same books, and those nudged me on. I learned a lot in the process, and came to some unexpected insights about the books, and am delighted to be able to share my journey with other passionate readers. And I love it when they contact me to share their own insights and experiences.

Q: Looking back at your travels, can you choose one favorite literary destination? (or maybe two, if it’s not possible to narrow it down—I know how that goes!)

A: This is such a hard question!   I was fascinated by so many places for different reasons. I’d been living on the east coast for several years when I drove across Kansas to the site of the Little House on the Prairie, and I felt a much stronger sense of connection to my native state than I expected. I loved going to the farmhouse in Mansfield, MO, the motherlode of Laura Ingalls Wilder artifacts, and a place I had been to several times during my younger years. Going to Mankato, MN was like rediscovering books I had almost forgotten about, Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy Tacy books. I loved Prince Edward Island and all of the evidence of the pride people in Cavendish and Charlottetown feel there about Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables. In Concord, MA, I loved learning about all of the connections between writers like Alcott, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Hawthorne—it is such a rich place, and the Wayside, where several authors had once lived, including Alcott, Hawthorne, and the children’s writer who wrote under the name Margaret Sidney, was inspiring.

I realize this answer is sort of a sneaky way of not narrowing down my answer to just one place—but I have to say that my absolute favorite place was a destination I hadn’t meant to include in the book—the Emily Dickinson house in Amherst, MA. I loved that it was not just historical, but that docents really focused on talking about her work throughout the tour. Being there brought back memories of transitioning into adult literature as I discovered Dickinson when I was young, and connected powerfully to this quirky, suberversive poet. But almost all of the places I visited led to revelations about how books had had a hand in shaping me into who I became and what mattered to me.

Q: What was the hardest part of the project? The easiest?

A: Rereading so many books—more than 100—and reading criticism and doing research were unexpected joys—work, but fun, relatively easy work, bringing back memories and leading to connections and discoveries. And I loved traveling places and then spending time every night writing about them in my journal, so it felt like I got to live everything twice.

The hardest part was that I wasn’t sure for years what the project was, what shape if any it was going to take. So I’d write parts of it, then stall for long periods. I wrote many other things in between working on it, essays and memoir about things that were more in my comfort zone, like about raising an adopted child and traveling with her back to China. But I kept coming back to this project, putting it through a lot of revision and reshaping, because the fun parts kept me motivated.

Q: What was/were the biggest surprises along the way?

A: I learned lots of things I didn’t know about many authors and books, and was repeatedly startled at the way details from the books had remained in my subconscious, influencing things from decorating choices to philosophies, my identity, and even, at times, decisions I had made. I experienced some huge moments of revelation that surprised me, and even some moments that made my head spin a little.

Like when my brother found the deed to our childhood home and discovered that the Osage Indians had sold that land around the same time that the Ingalls family had left Osage territory a little more than a hundred miles away. Or in DeSmet, SD, when it became clear to me why I’d gone through a period of disillusionment with the Little House series as a teenager. Or when I was writing about Little Women, a book I came to love because my mother and aunts loved it, especially an aunt who died of lupus when I was 17.

It was fascinating to me how much Jo had influenced my desire to be a writer, and how much Beth’s beautiful Victorian death shaped my own ideas of death and grief when my aunt was dying. When I discovered that Louisa May Alcott was believed to have had lupus, a theory that came about 25 years after my aunt’s death, I was startled by that connection. My mother and aunts read all of Alcott’s work, and may have read biographies; I will never know if my aunt recognized something familiar in Alcott’s patterns of illness and remission, but it was an idea that intrigued me.

Q: Tell us a bit about taking your daughter along, and sharing these favorite books and destinations with her. Did the experience turn out as you imagined?

A: Some of these books were a hard sell with my Chinese-American daughter, who has been dragged all over the place visiting these sites since she was nine years old—sites where she was almost always the only person who wasn’t white. She enjoyed learning about pioneer life, even if she had to play a lot of pump organs and sit in a lot of covered wagons and admire a lot of Pa fiddle replicas. Though she sometimes complained about long hours in the car, as soon as we arrived home, she said, “Let’s do that again.” That’s part of what motivated me to go with friends to PEI and read aloud to her Anne of Green Gables, which she LOVED, although she found Anne bizarrely sadomasochistic and laughed her head off at her desire for “bosom” friends.

I couldn’t get her to read the Betsy-Tacy books, which may be my all-time favorites. She was busy making her way through Coretta Scott King award winners. She was much more interested in books about people from other cultures—books by Bette Bao Lorde, Gloria Whelan, Pam Munoz Ryan, Sharon Draper, Mildred Taylor, Jacqueline Woodsen, Andrea Cheng, Christina Gonzalez. I read many of these and loved them, too. My daughter’s reading interests reminded me of how important it is to expose children to a variety of literature and backgrounds and cultures.

Going back to an earlier question, I was a bit surprised at how homogenous the books I read really were, all published within a hundred years of each other, the first hundred or so years that children’s literature was really emerging as a category. We are now in an era of amazing and wonderful developments in children’s literature and I hope that my daughter will someday remember the books she read as a child as fondly as I do mine. And I hope that we’ll continue to influence each other’s reading just as my mother and aunts and friends have passed books back and forth throughout our lives.

Q: Do you have a favorite anecdote to share from your travels?

A: We were really hungry and almost out of gas when we reached the highway that was supposed to take us to Walnut Grove, MN—and it was closed. There was no way to backtrack without running out of gas, so I drove down the shoulder of the closed highway for at least ten miles. It was deserted and kind of apocalyptic and actually a little scary, because I was in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank, a dying cell phone, and a sleeping child in the back seat. It helped me to imagine what it was like to be a pioneer, making do with what you had, venturing into the unknown.

Sophie and I also reminisce about the pantyhose people in Burr Oak, IA—life-sized recreations of the Ingalls family made out of old hose, sitting on the furniture in the living room of the Master’s Hotel. Such a strange and creepy but loving tribute made, in the pioneer spirit, with materials at hand.

Burr OakNancy and Sophie visit Burr Oak, Iowa

Q: This isn’t really a question, but I just love this picture of you and your daughter!  It really captures the spirit of the book.

A: Thank you so much for doing this interview, Heather (and I hope you will print this part!). Through my book, I really wanted to explore how the reading we do when young becomes a part of us, lives on in many different ways. I wanted to examine classic books not as dusty, static items, but as things that remain alive and inspiring even in a changing landscape of children’s literature. I admire your Mother-Daughter Book Club series because through great characterizations and stories, it also reminds us of the continuing relevance of classic stories.

Why thank you, Nancy! You and I are kindred spirits for sure. And thanks so much for visiting with me today.

And now readers, I have a copy of FROM LITTLE HOUSES TO LITTLE WOMEN to give away! Just leave a comment below, letting us know what setting from a favorite children’s book you’d travel to if you could.

Winners will be chosen at random at midnight on February 8th. US and Canada only, please. Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook or Twitter or other social media for additional entries. (And if you tweet or blog or otherwise share on social media, please leave a link in the comments below so I can assign you an extra entry.) 

In the Spotlight: Susan Fletcher

November 10th, 2014

As many of you know, I’ve started a new occasional feature on my blog — a series of author interviews called In the Spotlight. I have so many friends who are writing so many amazing, wonderful,  stellar books, books that you simply MUST know about and read, that I decided it’s time I got busy and shared them with all of you!

Stepping into the spotlight today is my friend Susan Fletcher. Talented, warm, generous with her time and her wisdom, Susan is one of the loveliest people I know. She teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at Vermont College, and all I can say is, her students are incredibly lucky to have her. She’s a gem.

Susan Fletcher

Susan Fletcher

I have to tell you a funny story about Susan. Years ago, when I published my first book, the writing community in Portland, Oregon, where I live–and in particular those who write for young readers–welcomed me so kindly. Susan was one of those who did, and I’ve always been grateful to her for it. I was a fan long before we were friends, so it’s been doubly fun to get to know her over the years since. She’s a member of my Soup & Solidarity group (which you can read about by clicking here), and I also get together regularly with her and with two other writer friends at a coffee shop, where we all work on our individual WIPs (that stands for “work in progress”). And OK, maybe we talk a little, too…

Writing is solitary work. It helps to have friends!

Back to the funny story. So all those years ago, when I first got to know Susan, I was bubbling over to my family at dinner one night about how nice she was, and how kind she’d been to newbie me. My son Ben, who was in about fifth grade at the time, looked at me in awe. “You know Susan Fletcher?” he said, his eyes widening. “I love her books!”

It’s true, he had read and adored her DRAGON CHRONICLES series, and I was a rock star by association! So thank you, Susan, for helping me impress my son!

Pull up a chair as we settle in for a visit, and talk with Susan about writing, her book FALCON IN THE GLASS, which is now available in paperback, and what’s next.

falcon_glass

Renaissance Venice, the art of glassblowing, intrigue, and a hint of fantasy – FALCON IN THE GLASS is such a richly imagined world. Can you tell us a bit about the book’s inception, and how the ideas developed as you shaped the book?

I guess you could say I owe FALCON IN THE GLASS to a nasty cold, but that would be flip, and I would never be flip—you know that, don’t you, Heather? Well, in any case, about twenty years ago I had this cold, and it was bad, and I wrapped myself up in a blanket and turned on the TV, just to give my mind something do to, because it hurt too much to read or think. And there was Venice, Italy on the screen—a video documentary. Honestly, it was just pictures and music, but I forgot all about my cold and became obsessed. Venice!

Well, it wasn’t a throw-it-all-away-and-join-the-circus kind of obsession, but ever since that documentary I wanted to find out whatever I could about Venice. I think it’s partly that it’s so stunningly beautiful, and when you wander through those old streets and canals you can almost imagine that the 21st century has dropped away and you’re living in the Renaissance, except with tourists. It’s partly that Venice is built on an archipelago of a hundred-some natural islands, connected by a network of canals and little bridges. And all of those ancient buildings are supported by wooden pilings driven deep in the mud hundreds of years ago. You don’t find that in, like, Nebraska. And it’s also partly that Venice is, you know, sinking, and you know it’s not going to be around forever. And I think this sort of connects on a deep level to the sinkingness of everything beautiful in life.

Wait! I mean, I don’t want to be maudlin but… Everything beautiful is temporary, yes? And that’s part of what makes it precious. And Venice reminds me of this in a piercing way that has haunted me for years.

Here’s something I found out in all the reading I was doing: During the Renaissance the authorities in Venice imposed fines, banishment or prison sentences on glass artisans who took the secrets of their craft outside of the Venetian lagoon. According to some historians it was even worse than that: If a glassmaker went to another country, professional assassins would seek him out, wherever he was, and kill him.

Yikes.

But wow. The makings of a story, I thought. And why couldn’t I be the one to write it?

In your body of work, you’ve written from both female and male points of view. Can you talk about how you choose the protagonists that you do, and the challenges (if there are any) of writing from a male POV, such as Renzo in FALCON IN THE GLASS?

Each of my first eight novels was told from a girl’s point of view. Well, in ANCIENT, STRANGE, AND LOVELY I sort of branched out and had chapters from the points of view of like a truckload of characters. But even in that book it’s clear who the main character is, and she is a girl.

I mean, this is not difficult to explain, right? I am a woman; I was a girl. This is familiar territory. However, I love historical settings; I tend to have protagonists who travel, get into scrapes, and have adventures. There were times, in a number of my books, when I thought to myself: Realistically, in these historical times, it would be almost impossible for a girl to do this and get away with it. And so in some cases my girl protagonists disguise themselves as boys. At least for a while.

And, you know, readers have noticed that the girl-disguised-as-a-boy thing happens a lot in kid’s books, and it does, but I’ll bet that in some historical eras this was going on all the time. There are documented instances of girls passing themselves off as boys in the Civil War, for instance. I’ll bet this happened throughout history way more than we’ll ever know, either because the girls managed to keep their secrets, or because they were not considered historically important.

In any case, my first thought was that the glassblower would be a girl. But historically, though some girls painted glass vessels, it would have been almost unheard of to have a girl working side by side with men in a Murano glass factory during the Renaissance. So I took a deep breath and decided to inhabit a boy, for once.

I was kind of nervous about this, and it’s probably good that Renzo isn’t an older teenage boy, which might have been more challenging. But in my girl-protagonist novels, there were often absent mothers and substitute mother figures—a number of female characters who helped each protagonist define what kind of woman she wanted to become. And I found the same sort of thing happening with fathers and father figures when I was writing about Renzo. There are three father figures in this book—Renzo’s absent father, the master glassblower who was Renzo’s boss, and the woodworker who comes to court Renzo’s mother. And so I was able to explore three different perspectives about what it is to be a man. I was imagining, yes? But that’s what writers do!

Renzo’s desire to create beauty, and his devotion to learning his craft – to “making” – with its pull toward perfection — I can’t help but see parallels to the writer’s own creative process here. Could you talk about that?

Well, there’s the whole write-what-you-know advice, which I usually totally ignore (except when it comes to girl protagonists). Jane Resh Thomas once advised writers not to “write what you know,” but to “write what haunts you.” I like that much better. I write out of my own sense of what it is to be a human being, but I get these obsessions about different times and places, and I want to go exploring.

However, while noodling around in the early stages of writing FALCON IN THE GLASS it occurred to me that I spend the bulk of my days thinking about, teaching about, writing about, and in the act of attempting to create something original and harmonious—a novel. And I thought it might be interesting to write about creating things—something in my personal experience.

So, part of learning to create things well is just practice—putting in your time, keeping at it, refusing to give up when you make mistakes, which you are going to do a lot. Nowadays, people are calling the willingness to persist like this: grit. And yet there is another aspect to this business of creating things—call it joy, or inspiration, or magic, or whatever. And this part has very little to do with stiffening your spine and pushing past difficulties. So, in Falcon, I tried to evoke that delicate balancing act of grit and magic.

The bird kenners. You’ve returned to them repeatedly over the decades, most recently with Bryn in ANCIENT, STRANGE, AND LOVELY, and now Letta and her flock in FALCON IN THE GLASS. Where did they come from originally? And what draws you to revisit them in your stories?

The bird kenners came out of my Dragon Chronicles series; in those books, people who can speak telepathically with dragons can also “ken” with birds. In the last novel in the series, ANCIENT, STRANGE, AND LOVELY, I brought the bird kenners into an alternate 21st century. I began to wonder what they had been doing in all that time between the medieval world of the earlier books and the near-future of ANCIENT, STRANGE, AND LOVELY. It occurred to me that, because they are different, the bird kenners would likely have been persecuted at one time or another. That’s just what happens historically to people who are perceived as different. Maybe they would have been forced to move from one place to another. Also, there’s a kind of neither-here-nor-thereness to the magic of the bird kenners. I mean, there are horse whisperers in real life; why couldn’t there be, like, bird whisperers, too? One of thing that makes me want to spend time in my imagination with the bird kenners is that I can almost believe they might exist for real.

Let’s talk research! We’re kindred spirits in this department – I know we both love this part of the process. Rumor has it that you have a couple of great stories to share, one involving a dungeon, and another the zoo?

Yeah, I tend to go crazy with research. I went to Iran to research ALPHABET OF DREAMS; I wanted to walk along the Silk Road, the path that my characters would have traveled 2000 years ago. Once there, I found all kinds of things I didn’t even know I was looking for. With FALCON IN THE GLASS I spent days meandering through the streets and alleys of Venice and Murano. I soaked up so much from just being there…but when you’re doing research, not everything works out as well as you might hope.

For instance, I toured the old dungeon in Venice, which is incredibly atmospheric—the ancient stone cells, the echoes, the chill… I loved having experienced the dungeon, and I thought this meant that my research on the dungeon was done. However, after I came home and got deeper into the story, I discovered that the dungeon I had visited wasn’t yet built at the time of my story! Gah! So I was going to have to do book research, after all.

With the generous help of a historian (Patricia Fortini Brown of Princeton) and a librarian (Jim Nolte of Vermont College), I found pictures and descriptions of the earlier prisons, some of which were in “the leads,” chambers just beneath the lead roof of the Doge’s Palace. As it turns out, Casanova, the famous womanizer, escaped from “the leads” in one of his many misadventures. And, lucky for me, he described the entire complex of prisons in great detail when recounting the story in his memoir, The Story of My Life.

And I’m not ready to talk too much about my current project yet, but I will say that a couple of weeks ago, for research, I went “backstage” at the zoo and stood between two polar bears—about a foot from each of them—and watched a 1500-pound critter lip a grape from a keeper’s open palm. Wow!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?  How about tips and encouragement for young writers?

One of the questions I get most often from serious young writers has to do with finishing things. So often kids tell me that they begin a story, and it’s just going along great, but partway through they lose steam, and then the story just seems to shrivel up and die on them.

I have two responses to this question. The first has to do with desire and with trouble. I think that a protagonist who really wants something will keep a story going strong—so long as she doesn’t get what she wants—at least, not until the end of the book. So long as she keeps encountering obstacles and trouble. So sometimes I tell young readers to make sure their hero has some unfulfilled desire, and throw in some more trouble, and see if that doesn’t get the story perking along.

But I also want to say that if you have tried this, and you’re still just stuck… It’s okay to let the story go. You don’t have to feel that you have to finish everything you start, especially if you’re writing just for fun—which you should be doing. It should be fun! But sometimes you outgrow a story, and that’s fine. If you’re still struggling with the same story you started two years ago, try something new. Maybe years later you will return to the story with a new perspective that shows you where to go. I would say that when you’re young, follow your interest and your passion, and don’t worry so much about finishing.

See? Didn’t I tell you all she’s amazing? Thanks so much, Susan, for visiting with us today.  Now everybody go visit her website for more fun facts (click here), then buy her books and READ THEM!

 

 

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