About the Author
During several decades as a teacher I loved reading and writing with and for my students. After I retired I joined SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book writers and Illustrators), and I wish I had done so years sooner!
Now I’m an active member, learning and writing full time. I also lead professional workshops on using picture books for all ages (for teachers, librarians, and others who work with learners). ODIN’S PROMISE is my debut novel. The second book of the Odin’s Promise trilogy will release in spring, 2016, and the final book will release in 2017. I also write picture books, none yet published.
When weather and arthritis permit, I love gardening, art, and travel (to Norway, of course). I grew up in Ohio but have lived in the Milwaukee area since college years. I hope you’ll visit my website often(www.SandyBr ehl.com) to learn more about ODIN’S PROMISE and keep up with news about future publications by clicking the NEWS tab.
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Thanks for stopping by to get to know me a bit. If you care to learn more, just keep reading…
My earliest memories of text center around having bedtime stories read to us (the four of us piled together) from old books with collections of traditional tales and few illustrations. I can still recall most of those, but two favorites are Little Turtle Who Couldn’t Stop Talking and Greedy Old Woman. You’ve probably never heard of either one of these stories. I’ve redone both as picture books and hope to be able to share them with readers in published form someday.
On Sunday mornings Dad would read aloud the “funny papers” to us. Those aren’t what most people mean by stories. I disagree. I’ve worked on text for a graphic story for early readers and hope to do more of that. A day is not complete for me if I haven’t read the comics in the daily newspaper. I wrote about memories of Sunday funnies in this post for Father’s Day a few years ago.
I didn’t become a writer as much as I discovered I’m a writer. It surprised me when a teacher would select something I wrote for special praise, especially fiction. I knew my writing was “good”, in that I could use it for assignments, to communicate information, write letters, etc. with very few red marks on the returned papers. I just didn’t think of myself as a storyteller kind of writer until a series of teachers pointed out that… I was!
There’s a funny, rather embarrassing story I tell about the first time I considered writing for publication in this blog post.
Everything inspires me to write. There’s never been a shortage of words in my mind or in my mouth. Everything I read, see, hear seems to remind me of something else, to make me wonder about something, to connect in some way that leads to another idea. I read as much as I possibly can, and admire so much of what other writers do.
Writing advice? It’s the same as I gave in my classrooms, and works for all ages.
If you want to write, first read as much as possible of the types of things you want to write. Write “take-offs” on your favorites, write an alternate ending, tell the same story from another character’s point of view. Write often, write widely, and write what you enjoy. In time, you’ll develop better techniques, but you’ll also find your footing and have the confidence to explore your own path and voice.
Find others who love to write and share your work, looking for encouragement but also for caring suggestions and concerns. They will lead you to improve. I Once I’ve done everything I can to make it the best I possibly can, I enjoy sharing my work with others and watching closely while they read. The looks on their faces let me know if I was able to work any magic- to build ideas in my mind, turn them into squiggles on paper, and watch my ideas climb into their minds. When that doesn’t happen I ask readers to point out ways they were confused or when they lost interest. I can take that back to rework the story and make it stronger, more interesting, more magical.
I enjoy every kind of book for every age, fiction and non-fiction, but each of those categories has many favorites among them. And that changes over time, too. In the category of historical fiction for young readers, I would have to include among many favorites: Lois Lowry, Laurie Halse Anderson, Shana Corey, Ann Turner, MIldred D. Taylor, and Christopher Paul Curtis. I’ve shared thoughts about authors and titles in blog posts and will continue to do that.
Thanks for trying to learn more “ABOUT” me, and I hope you’ll help me learn more “ABOUT” you, too.