Thursday, February 4, 2016

AuTHor Thursday: Elizabeth Raum

Greetings RRVWP Blog Readers, 

Meet Elizabeth Raum. She has graciously shared part of her writing world with us. 

Elizabeth Raum has written over 100 books for young readers including picture books, nonfiction, and middle-grade novels. She spent several years as a teacher and librarian in New Jersey and North Dakota. She taught at Mapleton High School in Mapleton, North Dakota, in the 1970s, and worked as a librarian at Concordia College from 1992-2003, in Moorhead, Minnesota. She has been writing fulltime since 2003. She has lived in six states, but claims North Dakota as home. She is a teaching artist with the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Regional Advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her website is

Why do you write?

Every life is a story, and the lives of others (both true and imaginary) nourish us. I write to tell these stories.

Who currently inspires you?

My Fargo writing group is a source of inspiration. They work at their craft, constantly revising to make their work sing. And like all of us writers, they don’t let rejection defeat them. They continue to produce amazing work, even though they seldom get the recognition they deserve.

Who encouraged you to be a writer?

Two of my teachers played a special role in my life. Mrs. Brown, my third grade teacher, assigned the class to write a poem. Mine was about snowflakes, and when Mrs. Brown read it, she told me that I would be a writer someday. Of course, I didn’t believe her. Later, in 9th grade, my history teacher, Mr. O’Brien, encouraged me through his supportive comments on my papers. My Mom always read to my brothers and me, and my Dad was a great storyteller. He saw every incident as fuel for stories. No wonder I do, too.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I try to keep up with current children’s books, especially middle-grade and young adult novels. I’m always reading history, too. I’m now reading A Year in the South 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American History by Stephen V. Ash.

What advice do you have for writing teachers?

 “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” What’s really important is that student writers are able to express ideas, create characters, and develop a point of view. Focus on clarity. Does the writing make sense? Are the arguments logical? Can readers understand the characters’ motivations and actions? Writing groups can help by providing this feedback.

What advice do you have for writers?

Read widely, especially in those genres that you hope to write. Then write, write, and write some more. It’s all about patience and practice.

What genres do you write? Which is your favorite? Why?

I have written picture books, an adult biography, a book for teachers, early chapter books, nonfiction for children in grades 1-8, and middle-grade novels. My favorite is usually the one I’m currently working on. Right now I’m revising a narrative nonfiction manuscript for readers in grades 5-8.

Thank you Elizabeth for your writing words of wisdom! May you continue to nourish the world through your stories and singing words.