Topic for November 1st:
The Process & Perils of Getting Published
featuring Clare Vanderpool & Debra Seely.
Clare Vanderpool is the author of “Moon Over Manifest” and winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal.
If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I have a very strong connection to place. I live in Wichita, Kansas, about four blocks from where I grew up, in an old neighborhood called College Hill. From my house I can walk to my parents’ house, my sister’s house, the school I went to and where my kids go now, the pool, the sledding hill, and two bookstores!
I grew up reading many wonderful books in a lot of strange places. Books like Harold and the Purple Crayon, Anne of Green Gables, and Island of the Blue Dolphins in places like dressing rooms, the bathroom, and church. (Like you never read a book in church.)
While I do have a college degree in English and Elementary Education, my best education has come from reading, listening to family stories, looking out the car window on road trips, pretending to be pirates with my brother, and just plain imagining.
Besides writing I like to go to the pool with my kids, browse at the bookstore, have a neighbor over for tea, watch re-runs of Monk, have a lot of kids playing at our house, and go out for dinner with my husband. Life is good.
Debra Seely published books are Grasslands (Holiday House 2002) and The Last of the Roundup Boys (Holiday House 2004).
I have always lived in Kansas. When I was growing up, I lived in a number of small Kansas towns and cities. The one place that stayed the same for me throughout my childhood was my grandparents’ farm southwest of Wichita. It’s still one of my favorite places.
I read books all the time. My favorites when I was younger were about kids who moved to new places, which seems logical. I also liked stories about the past. I really liked Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, which combined stories of the past with stories about a girl whose family moved constantly. I wanted to be a writer, but also a nurse, an actress, and a journalist. When I grew up, I became a teacher instead. I taught English in junior high and high school, worked at a children’s book store while getting my MFA in creative writing, and taught college writing and children’s literature. I’m married and have three children, who are a constant source of inspiration for my writing.