Information about writing and reading for the hearts of children and sometimes for the adults who love them. Book reviews and writing resources that help new and seasoned authors reach their audience and showcasing authors who have done just that.
Interview with Children's Author: Hope Irvin Marston
Please welcome children's author, Hope Marston to the blog today. I am thrilled to have her here after reading several of her books. Welcome Hope and thanks for being here. The readers here are all interested in writing and of course reading. It is so good to have you here to share about your success.
Note:There is another
Hope Marston on the West Coast.That’s
why I include my middle name.)
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
am a Post Depression child and the eighth of nine children who grew up on a
dairy farm smack dab in the middle of the state of Pennsylvania.Books were a scarce commodity in our
household so it was a red letter day for me when the county bookmobile came to
our school which was located on the corner of our farm.What a thrill it was to climb into that
vehicle, which was probably about the size of the Taurus van my husband drives,
and choose one book from all those beckoning me from the shelves.After I read my book I returned it to the teacher
and was allowed to borrow someone else’s story.It was through those bookmobile
experiences I developed a respect for authors. I decided that someday I would
write a book. It took me about thirty years to accomplish that goal, and the
Describe your desk/workspace.
Must I answer this question?(Just kidding!) It’s Clutterville. I would be
more productive if I kept the paper stashes under control and didn’t have to
fight for space to pencil a note somewhere.I need to make that priority.I
am too much like that lumberman who is so busy chopping he doesn’t take time to
sharpen his ax!
I have a recessed screen which I no
longer need now that I’ve had lens implants. Someday I will replace it so I can
see the screen clearly without my reading glasses.
My tower CPU is to the left of the
stand that holds the screen and my LASER printer.
Buried somewhere below the paper
stashes to the left of my chair is a worktable I think.I haven’t seen the top since the last time we
had company coming that I wanted to impress with an orderly desk. I am still
looking for things that were there before I chucked everything into a box to
get it out of sight.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Yes. I keep a file of thoughts that I want
to remember to keep my writing focused.Here is the first one: “Get rid of anything that isn’t useful or
beautiful. Everything else is useless and ugly!” I don’t know who said it, but
it makes sense to me. And the second one:“If you want a writing life that you have never had, you must do things
you’ve never done—and do them consistently.” Again by Anonymous.
What are you currently reading?
Guide to 2012, published by Writers Institute Publications, 2012.
If you could have coffee with
anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?
I’d like to sit and visit with Mary’s
husband Joseph. I am awed by the faith of many men and women in the Bible, but
Joseph has a special place in my heart.We don’t know much about him, and he just disappears. But what a
strategic role he played in loving Mary, in keeping his distance from her as
his wife until after Jesus was born, and then caring for her and the Son of God
through the young years of His life on earth.God had a special plan for His Son and He wanted Mary to have a husband
who would love her child Jesus.After He
told Joseph what was going on, Joseph accepted his place in the plan and loving
cared for his new family.When I get to
heaven, I intend to find Joseph and tell him that his faith in the Lord and his
obedience to the heavenly plan were an inspiration to me.
What are your top three favorite
books and why?
Since my writing career centers on
children’s books, I will share my favorites in that genre.They are Heidi,
Caddie Woodlawn and Johnny Tremain.The first title was given to me by my older
sister in 1947 when I was twelve. It’s one of the few shopworn treasures from
my childhood days.The other two books
were on a list of assigned reading for us country kids who would be attending
high school in Lock Haven, PA.I have
re-read both a number of times as an adult. It was a wonderful experience
teaching Johnny Tremain to my seventh
grade students at Case Junior in Watertown, NY.These books appealed to me because the main characters were believable.They were good kids, but not perfect. They
got into trouble, but they didn’t do wicked things. Things didn’t always go
well for them, but they did what they could to make things better.Sort of like Aisling Shepherd in Eye on the Iditarod.
What was your favorite book as a
child and why?
Heidiby Joanna Spyri.I loved this spunky little girl left to fend
for herself with a grumpy grandfather who was a stranger.I liked how she and Grandfather learned to
love each other and how she and Peter became best friends. I loved the animals
and life up there in the Alps.Now and
then I re-read the story and savor it once more.When I overnighted in the Alps about twenty
years ago on my flights to and from a Campus Crusade for Christ mission to
Ukraine with the with International
School Project, l looked up at those majestic mountains and thought of these
storybook characters with great pleasure.
In tribute to the nation of
Switzerland, my husband and I named our first St. Bernard puppy “Heidi.”Our current Heidi is a lovable Bernese
What would you say is your most
interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know how interesting it is, but
this is the only quirk I can identify even after asking one of my best friends for
help with the question.When someone
asks me a question that I need to think about before I can answer, I raise my
chin, look off in the distance and think about it. Invariably my questioner looks
in the direction where I am focused to see what caught my attention.
Do you write full-time or
consider myself a part-time writer.After thirty-three years in the classroom, I retired as a public school
teacher/librarian to write full time.That was the plan and I have had quite a few books published since 1990,
but I soon learned that other things fill up the hours and days of those of us
who retire. Now I battle to have three
hours a day to spend with my writing pursuits.. Things needing my attention
tend to pile up in the same proportion as the paper stashes on my work
table.During the month of January I was
mentally stretched with making revisions on an historical novel about the War
of 1812 that was professionally critiqued by respected children’s editor Paula
Morrow. At the same time I was answering the Interview Questions for this World
of Ink Tour and having two live interviews concerning the publication of Eye on the Iditarod. I didn’t spend much
time twiddling my thumbs and I never watch television.
What are your current marketing
strategies for Eye on the Iditarod:
I’m “shouting it from the rooftops” in
every way I can conceive.My major
efforts are aimed at reaching people through the Internet.I am striving to get my name out there along
with the title of the book so the people who love sled dogs and mushing will
find it.I want teachers in all of the
United States to see the book is a perfect supplementary text for teaching the
Iditarod unit in their classrooms.I
have expanded my Advertising Budget to allow me to give free books to people of
influence who will spread the word that is the perfect book for “would be”
mushers as well as those who are already involved with the sport.
Could you share about any
current writing projects?
Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest, my
thirty-second children’s book, was released by Windward Books on December
1.It’s a biography of Aisling
(pronounced “Ashley”) Lara Shepherd whose goal is to some day run her own dogs
in the famous Iditarod sled dog race held each March in Alaska.Born legally blind, from the time she was
three she loved watching sled dog racing on television. My book, written from
information Aisling shared with me in hundreds of e-mail letters, follows her
through the mushing season the year she is eleven.That memorable year she conquered obstacles,
dealt with heartbreak and loss, and achieved success, while keeping her eye on
In 2008 when Aisling was ten years old, she was one of three
girls chosen from 8,000 nominees for a Real Girl of the Year Award, by American
Girl.The award was given in recognition
of her “demonstrating initiative, effort, impact and personal growth” in
reaching her goal of someday running the Iditarod.She exemplified those qualities by her
dedication to rescuing, training and racing sled dogs.I learned about her from an article in an
online newspaper published near where we used to live in Maine.(It pays to have a husband who daily reads
the news from back home.Aisling lives
in the next town over from where I taught in Maine for six years after my
husband and I were married.)
What would be the best way for
readers to contact you?
Where can people find your book,
Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest?
On my website as well as at Amazon Books.
Is there anything else you'd
like to share?
Yes, there is. I love
writing for children and young people. It’s a joy to get young readers excited about
books.When I do school visits, it makes
my day memorable when a young fellow sidles up to me after my presentation and
tells me, “I have my owncopy of your
book (he says which one) and it’s the best book I’ve ever read.”
One of my life goals is to give hope
to my young readers literally. To help them understand that despite the rough
seas they may be sailing right now, things will calm if they just hold on.
That’s the kind of difference I want to make in this world.
Thank you so much for the wonderful insight into your writing life. It is comforting to me to know that your desk sounds like mine. I seem to have paper clutter everywhere. Blessings for more success with the books. They are wonderful reads for children.