Just after high school, I discovered a wonderful writing mentor. She was my teacher by correspondance at the Institute of Children's Literature; she said I could call her Ginger.
I found her old-fashioned handwritten notes helpful and encouraging; I eagerly awaited each revised assignment in the mail. She spoke from her long experience; she said she liked how I described my grandma's cheeks as soft like well-worn sheets.
It didn't take long before I was headed to the library to read some of Ginger's books. I had to remind myself to look under Mary Virginia Fox, not Ginger! They were mostly non-fiction (I was prepared to yawn) for middle-graders (ok, maybe it'll be fun). I read a book on Somalia that was very interesting, enthralling, even spell-binding. I wrote to Ginger. Oh, yes, she replied. She had fun with those books...she had written them after traveling with her husband on business.
I think that is when I first really began thinking about writing, reading and living books inspired by real life. Going to Somalia sounded great - reading a boring book about a country in eastern Africa didn't. Ginger had combined the two, taking me there through her book with her authentic details and her own personal wonder at a new culture and place.
Have you ever been to a place that amazed you? Did you write about it afterwards? Should you???
Papua New Guinea (Enchantment of the World. Second Series)
Bahrain (Enchantment of the World. Second Series)