Joining us today is Hope Irvin Marston, author of Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest, a recently released biography for 9-14 year olds.
Thank you for joining us today, Hope. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Yes. I am a Post Depression child and the eighth of nine children who grew up on a dairy farm smack dab in the middle of the state of Pennsylvania. I graduated from Lock Haven High School in 1952 and from Milligan College (TN) in1956. I received my Master’s of Arts degree in Library Science from SUNY Geneseo in 1972. I began my teaching career at Aberdeen (MD) Junior-Senior High School. In the spring of 1961 I met a Maine farmer. I moved to Maine and married him in August of that year. (Arthur and I celebrated our Golden Anniversary this past August.) After teaching in Buckfield for five years, we moved to upstate New York where the weather can be more vicious than any of the winters I experienced living in Maine.
In 1970 I said goodbye to the seventh grade classrooms where I had taught for more than a decade and became library media specialist at Case Junior in Watertown, NY. I retired from that position in 1990 so I could devote my time to writing children’s books.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
Books were a scarce commodity in our household when I was growing up so it was a red letter day for me when the county bookmobile came to our school, located on the corner of our farm. What a thrill it was to climb into that vehicle, which was probably about the size of the Taurus van my husband drives, and choose a book from all those beckoning me from the shelves. After I read my book I returned it to my teacher and was allowed to borrow someone else’s story. It was through those bookmobile experiences I developed a respect for authors. I decided that someday I would write a book. It took me about thirty years to reach that goal, and the fun continues.
Why did you decide to write stories for the How-to/Parenting market?
Hmmmm. A misunderstanding somewhere I think. I do not write for the How-to/Parenting market.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Eye on the Iditarod: Aisling’s Quest, my thirty-second children’s book, was released by Windward Books on December 1. It’s a biography of Aisling (pronounced “Ashley”) Lara Shepherd whose goal is to some day run her own dogs in the famous Iditarod sled dog race held each March in Alaska. Born legally blind, from the time Aisling was three she loved watching sled dog racing on television. My book, written from information Aisling shared with me in hundreds of e-mail letters, follows her through the mushing season the year she is eleven. That memorable year she conquered obstacles, dealt with heartbreak and loss, and achieved victories, while keeping her eye on the Iditarod.
In 2008 when Aisling was ten years old, she was one of three girls chosen from 8,000 nominees for a Real Girl of the Year Award, by American Girl. The award was given in recognition of her “demonstrating initiative, effort, impact and personal growth” toward reaching her goal of someday running the Iditarod. She exemplified those qualities by her dedication to rescuing, training and racing sled dogs. I learned about her from an article in an online Maine newspaper my husband continues to read each morning. Since she lived in Norway, a town near Buckfield, I contacted her, went to see her, and felt led to tell the world about this remarkable young girl with a broad vision, figuratively, if not visually.
What inspired you to write it?
Aisling’s knowledge of dogs and her love for them, even at age ten when I first met her. Her plucky attitude and her positive outlook on life were unusual for one so young. Also I was awed by the heart-warming relationship between her and her single mom.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
Ask at your local bookstore. Check out my website. Or go to Amazon Books.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more about you?
Yes. Please come visit me at www.HopeIrvinMarston.com Among other things you’ll find an update on Aisling’s mushing competitions this season. If you have a question, please email me at email@example.com
What is up next for you?
My current project is an historical middle grade novel, Sackets Harbor Powder Monkey. It’s local history. I had hoped to find a publisher for it a couple of years ago. After over 20 rejections I realized it must have major faults. I learned to identify them after attending Darcy Pattison’s Novel Revision Workshop in the fall of 2010. Since then I’ve spent considerable time re-writing the story. I had it professionally critiqued by respected children’s editor Paula Morrow (good decision on my part) and am now working through her comments and suggestions. Because it’s too late to find a main stream publisher in time for the War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration, I am bringing this one out as an e-book.
Once the powder monkey book is completed, I will get back to another historical novel of a Vermont family settling in New York in the early 1800s. Hannah Brown: Pioneer Girl is the working title. The story is based on the settlement of Pulaski, New York. During a difficult winter move from Vermont to central New York in 1806, a plucky 12-year-old Hannah proves her maturity in hopes of being given the new calf that will be born shortly after the family arrives.
Do you have anything else to add?
I enjoy talking about my writing life. Thank you for interviewing me, and thanks to all of you who are reading this interview.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Hope. We wish you much success.
It was my pleasure.
To follow Hope Marston’s World of Ink Tour Tomorrow, please go to: http://momnbaby.com/blogs