Due to chronic asthma, Glenda Goertzen spent much of her childhood in bed, reading and writing stories. Her first novel was a high school short story assignment that raged out of control. Her English teacher urged her to enter the science-fiction adventure in a contest. Although it didn't win, the experience encouraged her to write novels throughout high school and beyond. One of those novels was The Prairie Dogs, inspired by stray dogs she had known and by the imaginary adventures of her favourite childhood toys, led by a stuffed poodle named Pooch.
Despite her love of literature, Goertzen initially chose a career in film and video production. After a decade of working a variety of multi-media positions, she was suddenly overwhelmed by a desire to be surrounded by books rather than TV screens. Shortly after launching into a new library career, The Prairie Dogs was published. She now spends her days, at home and at work, surrounded by books in various stages of completion.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are everywhere; in the newspaper, in the stories your friends and family tell, or in the events you see happening around you. Many of my ideas for children's books come from the imaginary games I played when I was a kid, or from events that actually happened to me while I was growing up. Often ideas come to me while watching animals and people and listening to their conversations. Human conversations, I mean, not animal. Some of the adventures Pierre undertakes - such as escaping from the SPCA - are based on the experiences of real dogs I've known.
Much of my writing is born of personal interests - hiking, camping, biology, botany, and quirky ecosystems. The settings in my books, particularly Lady Oak Abroad, reflect interesting locations I've travelled to in real life.
What books are you working on?
I am currently working on a number of children's and teen novels, including more novels in the Prairie Dogs Adventure series and the Audrey O'Krane Chronicles. I'm also working on a comic strip, for a change of pace.
What's the best way to write a book?
Writers are tour guides, taking readers to places they can't find on their own. Whether you lead your literary tourists to new worlds or new ideas, the journey will be as exciting for you as it is for them. To begin, most writers generally follow this path:
- Have an idea.
- Come up with more ideas related to the first idea. Stick all the ideas together and decide if you have enough to make a book.
- Write an outline. This is a description of the main events of the book and the order in which you expect to write them. It organizes your writing and focuses your brain.
- Write the book.
- Take a break. Work on something else for a while. Go on vacation. Call your friends and assure them you weren't kidnapped for the past year, you were just working on a book.
- Rewrite the book. Examine every chapter, every sentence, and try to
think of a better way to write them improve upon them. Have you made the best use of your words? You might want to add, change or remove some of them, or move parts of the story around. You might even want to change the entire plot. This is called revision. It's how writers spend most of their time.
I've written a book, short story, poem, etc. How can I get it published?
You might find this article helpful.
How do I find books on writing at my library?
I'm glad you asked. It's all explained right here.