Please welcome Lisa Gammon Olson to my blog. Hello Lisa! I’m happy to host you today. Shall we begin?
Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
First and foremost, I am the mom to three amazing young men; Grant, Kyle & Jay.(They’ve brought two lovely daughters into my life- Anna & Keli!) I live with my husband Bruce in Coon Valley, Wisconsin. As a children’s book author and elementary school secretary (the best job EVER) I get to write for the audience that I spend a lot of time with. How perfect is THAT? I believe the most important thing we can ever teach our children is “How to be Kind.” Any kindness we do, no matter how small, has the power to change someone’s life. I am a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, a member of 12×12 Writers Forum, and an Eifrig Publishing Author.
Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
Literally, in Kindergarten! I learned to read with Dick & Jane Books when I was five and I thought “That’s what I will do when I grow up….I will write about Dick and Jane having lots and lots of adventures!” I’ve always known I would be a writer. (I love the Dick and Jane books!)
How difficult was it writing your first book?
Being 57 years old, the difficulty “back in the day” wasn’t necessarily the story…it was physically typing out the manuscript on our heavy old typewriter. When you made a mistake, you had to white it out with “liquid paper” and wait for it to dry and retype over it. When sending your manuscript to a publisher, it was protocol to have fewer than 3 typos per page so many many pages got ripped up and retyped. Sometimes you could get 2 pages typed ALL day and you’d look down at the end of the day to see dozens upon dozens of wadded up sheets of paper under the chair!
Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Rejection letters from a publisher can cut a writer to the core and after receiving a goodly amount, I DID question my writing ability and I’d put it aside for a month or so. But storytelling is part of my soul and giving it up was never an option.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My mom, Gayle Gammon; she read everything I ever wrote and was instrumental in my becoming a writer. She was my biggest motivator. She passed before my first book went to print and I regret not getting to see the pride shining through her eyes as she read it.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I am constantly amazed at the tenacity of the human spirit and how people have coped during really tough times in our past. I work in an elementary school as the secretary and I want our kids to know “there is always something positive you can do to impact others in every situation.”
What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
My grandmother once told me “Everyone has a story to tell” and we need to always be respectful of everyone because we don’t know the burdens they carry in their heart.
What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
I feel most connected to the 6-12 year old reader. They are like the proverbial sponge, soaking up everything around them. My American Her Story Series feature a snapshot in American History as seen through the eyes of one young girl. As a child, it’s easy to get sucked up into the enormity of life and not think you could ever possibly make a difference…In my first book, Dust Flowers…set in the midst of the Dust Bowl…Molly can do nothing about the weather but she CAN grow one tiny flower and bring a smile to her mother’s face. That’s what I like all my books to say. What you do DOES make a
difference. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!!!
Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I let my illustrators design the covers…they have the artistic eye AND it’s their story as much as it is mine.
What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
I have my first chapter book for “Tweens” coming out later this year called Fig Newton Summer! A light -hearted look at puberty & growing up in Northern Wisconsin in the 70’s. (Yes, I DO resonate with this character!) 😉
I am also neck-deep into the 4th American HerStory Book, Remembering Green , which also takes place in Northern Wisconsin…Early 1900’s and the forced attendance of Indigenous children at residential schools whose primary objective was to assimilate native youth into Euro-American culture. Remembering Green features an Ojibwe heroine named Wenonah and her struggles to keep her native identity. I LOVE this girl already!
Any last words before we wrap things up?
Growing up in northern Wisconsin has instilled in me the wonder of nature… sparkling lakes, endless forests and trails littered with pine needles and possibilities. Our mission is to preserve our planet and populate it with human beings who are Respectful, Responsible and Kind. What an awesome combination!
I am promoting my newest book “And the Trees Began to Move” which will be released on Earth Day! (April 22, 2019) “The Spirit of the Pond, a vain and selfish entity, wants to preserve his beauty by denying the Ancient Tree Spirits his life-giving water in a time of drought. He discovers that in trying to save himself, he will lose everything he holds dear. In the circle of life, we are all dependent upon the kindness of others!”
I am still always promoting my American Her Story Series as well since the 1st three books were released within 2 years and I am still trying to get them “Out there”. 🙂