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My Favorite Author

When I heard it was Author Appreciation Week, one person immediately stood out…the one I need to thank for paving the way for me as a writer.

Perhaps you are thinking I’ll say Jean Craighead George, author of MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, the writer who combined my favorite plot device of absentee parents with my childhood infatuation for Euell Gibbons.

Or by chance, I might lean toward Agatha Christie, the author who captured my interest in middle school and made me obsessive enough to collect over 80 of her books, along with her plays.

Maybe it will be J.K. Rowling, who lit the fire of reading in my students and brought an excitement to the work of children’s literature that hadn’t been seen in some time.

No, the author I appreciate this (and every) week is:
Kate Messner.

Kate is the author of
THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z, which came out with Walker Publishing & Co. in 2009. (She has more due out in 2010, 2011, and beyond!) Her first two works were mid-grade historical fiction, SPITFIRE and CHAMPLAIN AND THE SILENT ONE, and are popular still with local schools.

It is Kate who started me on the road to writing a little over one year ago. There she was, a full-time teacher, technological guru, busy mom, loving wife; as well as a hiker, skier, volunteer, gardener, reader, and blogger. But on top of ALL of that…she was a writer.

Now if Kate can do all of that while working full-time and bringing her children to practice, and lessons, and recitals, and concerts, and games, and museums…what was my excuse? There I was – her colleague at work – someone who wanted to be a writer, but wasn’t. And my house? Calm and quiet…children off to college…a perfect writing retreat. I had an epiphany last year and began to write.

Since that day, I’ve completed two novels and am working on two more. Now that I’m ready to find an agent, Kate has helped me research agencies and make wise decisions for the foundations of a career. I love how she keeps me up-to-date on the publishing world and shows me the steps as her books go from ideas to finished manuscripts, from edits to ARC’s. I can’t even begin to estimate the number of facets she has covered or how many questions she’s answered (patiently!).

My first writing conference last year was at Vermont Writing College in Montpelier, VT, one Kate suggested. It was wonderful to spend the weekend listening to experts in the field, participating in critique groups, and writing. That was when I knew I was doing what I should with my life and joined SCBWI.

I am a writer now…thanks to my friend and mentor, Kate Messner.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
Yay for Kate and YOU! :-)
Mar. 17th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jo. There are so many wonderful things about her...like how she gives me great feedback when she critiques my work!
Mar. 16th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I don't know her as well as (lucky) you do, but it's clear there's a whole lot to love about Kate. What a lovely tribute.
Mar. 17th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Jeannine - Thanks! I am so lucky to have her two doors down in my school. Fate was smiling on me the day I got my job - we've worked closely together since we both teach 7th grade. She is one of the smartest people I've ever met.
Mar. 17th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Well now you've gone and made me cry.

Sending all that appreciation right back at ya, lady...

Mar. 22nd, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
Sorry I made you cry - I hope it was a good one, though. I really don't think I could ever begin to express what you have done to change my life for the better!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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