In third grade, my teacher had our class write/illustrate a picture book and journal daily. I kept the habit well after the school year ended. I enjoyed my English classes, won a writing contest, and started coming up with literary adventures just for fun. I wrote one story on looseleaf paper and bound it together with rainbow-colored shoelaces. I always thought writers were thoughtful people and marveled at how they could weave words together into a veritable magic carpet that could whisk me off to imaginative places.
However, I didn’t seriously pursue writing a book until after I married. Almost everyone who’d heard my engagement story reacted emotionally to it, so I thought I should probably write it down. This led to an eight-year project with my husband which we eventually self-published as Don’t Settle for a Fairy Tale: A True Love Story. Then after I had my first son, I put a few rhyming stanzas together which later became Dr. Hickerup.
If you were an architect what type of house/building would you design? Explain your answer, please.
I’d want to design an energy-efficient Victorian house. This may be an architectural impossibility, but I love the beauty of curved, classic architecture with tall ceilings, multiple staircases, curious rooms, fireplaces, and large windows. Very C.S. Lewis-like. It seems like contractors often sacrifice aesthetics for efficiency. It would be nice if one could use both to build a beautiful home that didn’t cost a fortune to heat. Having lived in a Victorian house where I could see my breath walking in the hallway during wintertime, I understand the need for central heat/air. My family lasted one year in that house and moved the following summer. But it was such a beautiful house!
I’d also include a complex network of intricate potager gardens. And a fish pond. With swans. And someone to maintain it all.
Do you ever laugh or cry while reading your own books? Explain.
I laugh at my work all the time! My writing generally has a playful tone whether I’m working on a children’s story, a narrative nonfiction piece, or my current (cozy) murder mystery. An entertainer by nature, I enjoy trying to craft my words in the most amusing way possible. Often my husband will catch me sniggering at the computer screen and inquire whether I’m making myself laugh again. I am always happy to share aloud so he can join in the fun.
What is the last book you read? Why did you read it?
In its entirety? Somebody’s Dead in Snellville by Patricia Sprinkle. I’d met her at a writing conference a few years ago and wanted to read something she’d written. Plus, I had a hankering for something diverting. Currently, I am also reading (with varying degrees of faithfulness) The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide, Outliers, Talking of Tea, The Meaning of Marriage, and the Bible. And today I picked up two more murder mysteries by Patricia Sprinkle. Hopefully, I’ll finish most these by the end of the year.
What author, living or dead, would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?
This may be a bit hackneyed, but I would like to take tea with Jane Austen. I would ask how she captured her characters so well and whether she derived each of them from people she knew. Her heroine, Elinor Dashwood, is one of my favorite literary characters. I would also probably suggest she do a second edition of Sense & Sensibility and include more details and dialogue in the final engagement scene.
Who wrote your favorite book, the one you have read over and over again? What makes this book, your favorite?
Despite my afore-mentioned reading list, I am not the most faithful reader. Unless a story grabs me by the hair and won’t let me leave the page before I turn to a new one, I can read rather slowly. So it a great compliment from my humble soul that I have read A Wrinkle in Time many times over. I love the imaginative adventure, the social commentary against “sameness,” the inclusion of gifted people (Charles Wallace), and the triumph of ordinary goodness over evil. (I also like the sweet romantic subplot between Meg and Calvin.)
I also like the encouraging story behind A Wrinkle in Time. Madeline L’Engle received around 30 rejections and actually shelved her manuscript before finding a publisher. Wrinkle went on to win the Newberry Award. This success, coupled with the fact that L’Engle wrote as a devoted wife and mother of multiple children, encourages me as I write in similar circumstances. And like her, I’d love to maintain good relationships with my family and friends while still persevering in my writing.
Learn more about Katherine Ladny Mitchell and all her books at:
www.cupandquill.com (for my Tea Talk Blog)
C.M. Huddleston's Review of Dr. HickerUp: the Hiccup Healing Man
No longer having small grandchildren (the oldest is 6 ft. tall and the youngest could educate us all about space, rockets, and Minecraft), I seldom read picture books. But if I read them every day, I would want them to be as much fun as Dr. HickerUp. The rhymes are spot on and fun to read, while the illustrations are colorful studies of expression and detail. I can imagine any small child delving into the story over and over again just to see the pictures of dogs, giraffes, patent pending machines, and the very interesting doctor!