Linda Sand has graciously shared part of her writing world with the Red River Valley Writing Project blog.
Thus, without further adieu, welcome Linda to the blog!
An Introduction to her Writing World
I have always written, but it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve dared to call myself “a writer.” I have a political science degree from MSUM and a master’s in Communication from Marquette University. I was a Junior Great Books leader and drama coach for many years. I was thrilled to be a winner in the Writer’s Digest poetry awards, and I’m currently writing for children. I’ve published the tall-tale “Melodious” in Cricket magazine, and it’s featured in audio version on their campfire stories website. And I have a poem in this month’s issue (April 2016) of Babybug.
Why do you write?
I recently heard an author on the radio say that when you’re younger you strive to write something beautiful, but as you get older you write to get at the truth. I’m at the point where I’m trying to get at the truth. It’s grand, though, when the truth is beautiful!
Who currently inspires you?
The wonderful and talented women of my writer’s group inspire me. Also, all the writers out there who dare to say something with their words. I am particularly in awe of Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, Patricia Maclachlan, Cynthia Rylant, Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, Sr. Joan Chittester, so many, many more. My husband, sons and family inspire me, too. I want to make them proud.
Who encouraged you to be a writer?
My dad had a column in a newspaper called “Jest for the Halibut” (yep, all of us have a little of the jester in us) and Mom could win awards for “cheerleader of the year” for all of us kids. They supported our dreams. Also, my first grade teacher (who put the fear of God in me) but redeemed herself by pinning one of my poems on the bulletin board.
A few books I’ve read over the past couple months:
The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly B. Bradley
The Crossover by Kvamme Alexander
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.
What advice do you have for writing teachers?
I think writing teachers could give me some good advice! But I guess the poem “Shut Up and Say Something” by Shane Koyczan comes to mind for teachers of older students. I think it could jumpstart some great writing projects. For younger students, I guess keeping a journal is always a great place to write freely and without fear of failure.
What advice do you have for writers?
Get cozy with the letter “R”: Read Read. Read and Revise. Revise. Revise. :)
Also, the letter “P” comes in handy: Persist.
What genres do you write? Which is your favorite? Why?
I write mostly picture books, chapter books and middle grade. At the moment middle grade is my favorite. There are so many truly amazing middle grade books out there right now. This is an age group where children are starting to see the world as it is and sometimes that’s incredibly exciting, but can be so scary and overwhelming too. Getting at the truth and getting it right for this audience seems to me like a sacred trust.
If you could sit down for coffee with any author, who would you choose and why?
Wow. This is a kid in the candy store question for me. It’s hard to narrow it down. But because I’ve mainly focused on children’s literature in these questions, I guess I’ll choose the contemporary writer Kate DiCamillo. She always gets at truth in a genuine but kind and beautiful way.