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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earth Week Extravaganza, Day 2: Author Kathryn O. Galbraith

Hi there readers!
Welcome to day two of the 'Fins, Wings, and Other Things' tour from Peachtree Publishers here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Today we have a very special post indeed featuring a title that will appear more than once here on the site and the wonderful author behind a book or two you won't want to miss.  Please welcome author Kathryn O. Galbraith as she shares with us her insatiable reading habits and how it affects her writing.

Take it away, Ms. Galbraith!


Guest Post:  Kathryn O. Galbraith
Insatiable Reader

I feel like a kindred spirit as I am, indeed, an insatiable reader. When I am asked where do I find time to read, my answer is always the same. Where do I find time to breathe? Finding time to read has never been a problem. Why? For me, reading is my reward, my passion, and an important source of inspiration. A day without reading is like a day without salt – completely flavorless.

What do I read? It depends. When I am working on a picture book, I read stacks and stacks of them. The same is true when I’m working on a chapter book or a middle grade novel. Reading them not only inspires me, but also gives me a sense of freedom and permission to try new topics, new approaches. As writers, we are so very lucky. We can choose our mentors and visit them whenever we wish by reading and rereading their books.

Where do my ideas come from? Planting the Wild Garden (Peachtree, 2011) had a quiet beginning. The idea came as I was walking through a meadow and scrubby fields. There I saw small brown rabbits and goldfinches feeding on seeds and grasses. I jotted down those images in my notebook. Months later while looking for ideas, I reread my notes and realized the link between them – that in eating the seeds, the rabbits and birds were helping to spread new plants that they and others depended upon for food. So the two givens right from the beginning were rabbits and goldfinches. Raccoons were added to the list almost immediately as were squirrels. Then I added water/rain/streams and wind. With those images, I began to add the plants themselves. I did a lot of research – trying to find three confirmations for any fact I used. But research is not writing. For me, the voice of the story is one of the most important elements of any manuscript. After lots of fiddling, when I wrote, “The farmer and her boy plant their garden”, I knew the story was on its way.

Arbor Day Square (Peachtree, 2010) began years ago after I read an editorial about Arbor Day. If I’d just read the article and tossed it away, I never would have written Arbor Day Square. Instead I cut it out and taped in my writer’s notebook where it sat waiting for me. Later I went back to it and slowly a story emerged, not of the first Arbor Day, but of Katie and her Papa in their new prairie town and the town’s need for trees – “trees for climbing, for shade, for fruit and warm winter fires, for birds and for beauty.”

Only after I had written Arbor Day Square did I realize that there was at its core an echo of the prairie world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, one of my favorite authors as a child. Katie’s story too touched me in another way. Moving to the Pacific Northwest as an adult, I love the beautiful firs, pines, and evergreens which dominant the landscape here, but I still miss the oaks, elms, maples and chestnuts of my childhood home in Michigan.

So where do my ideas come from? I guess you could say that they come from bits and pieces of my own life, from my interests, family, travels and curiosity – and from my writing notebook!


Author Bio

I grew up in Plymouth, Michigan, with four brothers, two birds, one dog and lots and lots of books. I always felt - and still do feel - lucky to have so many brothers. I felt sorry for girls who only had one or two. When I write about boy characters, they all seem have a little bit of Chuck, Tom, Ed, or Jim in them.

Dogs were always an important part of our family. When I wrote the three books about the roommates, Beth and Mimi, I gave them a wonderful dog named Willie - who is a little bit like our old dog, Bootsie. I haven't written any books with birds in them yet, but someday I will.

Today I live in Washington State with my husband Steve and a dear little dog named Teddy. And, of course, our house is filled with lots and lots of books.

I began writing in the second grade and never stopped. I've written twelve books plus four more under contract and hope to write at least a dozen more. Sometimes I get letters from young readers asking if my stories are true. Did they really happen to me? The answer is both yes and no. No, the stories didn't happen just as I wrote them. But yes, each story - the heart of each story - is true.


What a great post!
Thank you so much Ms. Galbraith.
It's great to know an author shares that insatiable love of reading too and it's always fun to discover just where the inspiration for a book came from.  Sounds like the local wildlife played a big role in pushing this story from idea to realized dream.

Now my dear friends, it's your turn.
Time to share,
Time to care,
Time to gain another entry to win that FIVE book prize pack!
Here goes.

Planting the Wild Garden deals with the life cycle of nature and how our environment continually renews itself, with a little help.  Earth Day (or week in this case) is all about spreading the message on ways that we can positively impact our environment and ensure its health for many many years to come.  So I ask you do YOU "plant the wild garden" in your community?  Do you have a flower or vegetable garden you tend?  Plant a tree in your local now and then?  What steps do you (or would you if given the chance) take to help ensure a greener world tomorrow? 

Share your answers in the comments below and step one is complete.


Fill out THIS FORM.


That's it!
You now (potentially, depending on if you entered via the other posts this week) have THREE entries towards the FIVE book prize pack at week's end from Peachtree Publishers!
But the fun has only just begun.

Be sure to stop back tomorrow for the next prize pack book reveal and in the mean time, check out Archimedes Notebook for a review of A Place for Fish...stop number two on the blog tour for the day.

Until next time...happy reading.


....Petty Witter said...

Many thanks for an interesting guest post Kathryn, it was good to meet you.

When we first married Husband dearest grew show leaks - amazing how much time went into this hobby and just what a smelly job it was - I won't tell you what compost was used as well as the traditional horse manure.

Misha said...

Great post! :) Glad to meet another insatiable reader. Planting the Wild Garden sounds like something my cousins would enjoy.

Juju at Tales of said...

Great post! I'm with Misha, it's always great to find another insatiable reader.

The1stdaughter said...

Oh! I absolutely adore Kathryn's books! Her book Arbor Day Square is one we have in our home and read quite a bit. After reading her post and Arbor Day Square I can definitely see the hints of Little House in that book. I love how our lives infuse the things we love and that's certainly evident in her writing. Such a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing it! I loved it!

Tribute Books said...

Gotta love a children's author who is a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder :)

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