Mary Bleckwehl, Author Spotlight

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I know you will all love. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book(s) because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about Mary Bleckwehl whose children books will charm and delight children and parents alike! That is why I personally would recommend this author to all of those that love finding brilliant children’s books! With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Mary Bleckwehl will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Mary Bleckwehl!

Mary Bleckwehl is a Minnesota children’s author who has spent her career promoting literacy and the love of learning. As an active member of SCBWI and the writing community, she strives to reach the reluctant reader and donates a portion of her time and books to those in need. She holds a Masters Degree in Educational Management from Lesley University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Wartburg College. She has taught for over 20 years and has held administrative positions in higher education in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa and Minnesota.

Bleckwehl grew up in a large farm family in Iowa with few books in the home. She quickly learned when she began school that both magic and knowledge blossomed in words and enthusiastically grabbed every opportunity to read and write.

Bleckwehl has three children and lives in Northfield, Minnesota where she still teaches part-time and loves the outdoors and going on mission trips to gain cultural perspectives. Since becoming a published author in 2011, she has presented to over 95,000 students in schools and young writer conferences. Her legacy is to offer inspiring stories that will outlast her.

Now, how wonderful does Mary Bleckwehl sound?! Mary Bleckwehl is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Mary Bleckwehl’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself

I am a book lover too but not a red head! I fell in love with reading and stories once I started kindergarten. There wasn’t much money in our family for things like books but that’s where the library comes in! So important.

I am a creator and a teacher. I love sewing, gardening, holiday projects, writing, painting a room and embellishing it with stenciled art and making a spot in a room look just so because I like the way it looks when I’m done. Creating means I get to use my imagination and see a finished product. I like modeling that for kids: getting to a finished product, no matter whether it’s an award winner or not. Sharing is how I teach. It is rewarding and it’s my contribution to the world.

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book? 

Fetching Dreams is a contemporary fiction story of cross-cultural friendship and family challenges, compassion and tragedy, traditions and differences, and the power of purpose and using one’s voice. Two twelve year old girls are pen pals as part of a school assignment. One is a shy African village girl who spends most of her time fetching water but dreams of something more, of going to school everyday, and making a difference. The other is an American girl who is outgoing, comfortable, but has her share of family/personal problems. In their letter-writing, they share their challenges and form a unique bond that pushes each to action and mutual understanding in spite of their differences. The story centers around the lack of access to clean water in a Kenyan village but the emotional outcome moves beyond the village to all who are looking to make a change, to do something that matters. Although it was written for upper middle grade readers, YA and adult readers are really loving it so I consider it a cross-over in terms of audience interest.

My other recent book is a picture book for “all ages”! Arrrgh! Me HATE To Wait! is about an impatient piggy pirate who can’t wait to sail off to big pig pirate school and learn to dive for treasure and be a REAL pirate. When the big day comes, she gets cold “hooves” and doesn’t want to go… This one is a delight thanks to the talented illustrator, Gabby Correia, who is amazing. Pirates, pigs, patience all wrapped into one!

What would your advice be for aspiring writers? 

My advice is to write what you would like to. Don’t worry about rules. If you’re writing for an audience, let your goal be to hold their attention.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

I suppose there’s a lot of different directions I could go with answering that! Perhaps the most important part is for the reader to get lost in it, to be so absorbed that the pot boils over on the stove and everyone’s gone to bed except the reader and s/he didn’t even notice.

What is your writing process like? 

I need a source of inspiration to sit down and start a new project. Once I have that, the wheels start turning and I “see” the story from start to finish. As I work through the first draft I take a few detours 😊 but the original focus remains throughout.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

If it’s nonfiction I spend a long time researching before I write one word. The kind of research I’ve done has largely been online but I check out books, make some calls, and talk to others. For fiction writing, I don’t have to cite as much but I still find myself looking up locations, word definitions, details of an event, dates, etc. that make the piece more authentic and relatable to the reader.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired? 

I do not have a set schedule as I am on the road some days to do an author school visit or present at a conference or teach. I try to carve out 3 times a week of writing time where nothing interrupts me because once I get writing, I don’t like to stop!

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? 

I love to read. I used to have favorite authors and I’d go back to them book after book. Since becoming an author myself, I like to try unknown authors’ work, or books from my critique partners and other relatively unknown writers.  I’m amazed at the talent out there. They keep me humble and keep me motivated to work on my craft.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you? 

As I write this, I am SO excited that tomorrow is release day for Fetching Dreams, a book I started in 2016 after a trip to Africa. Next year I have two nonfiction books in a Dino Discovery series due out from an educational publisher as well as a picture book from Familius, a publisher dedicated to keeping the “happy” in family’s lives.

You can see that I enjoy variety in my writing. I like to research, I like humor, I enjoy writing for the very young up through middle school. Variety keeps me fresh and I never get bored!

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Mary Bleckwehl! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the previews too! You will find an Amazon link to each book and it’s preview and also a link to the author’s website where you can find more information on Mary and her books!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Author: Website

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