Grab a seat on the dogsled and a cup of hot cocoa as Terry Lynn Johnson shares her Wild Ride today in Seekerville!
Find your peeps
You may have thought it difficult to find a group of people as weird as writers, but I can proudly say I belong to two such groups - writers and mushers.
The first writing conference I ever attended was the Canada East chapter of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I remember the feeling of belonging. Of being in a room full of other writers who understood my goals and the challenges of attaining them. Writing is a solo occupation, so how awesome when you get to surround yourself with others with the same drives.
Now imagine being a musher - another solo occupation. Hours, days, weeks alone on the trails with just you and your team. Then, a couple times a year at a sled dog race, you get to be in a room full of other mushers. People who share your concern for whip worms. Who also study their dog's poop. Who are also covered in dog hair. Who have ripped up their own carpets so their dogs can come inside. Uniting with your peeps, no matter what your passion, is energizing.
That I can combine these two passions of mine is amazing to me. And I feel incredibly lucky and grateful.
Write what you know
We've all heard, "write what you know." My middle grade novel, Dogsled Dreams, has mostly real-life people characters, sled dog characters, and events that actually happened to me.
It was just after I finished the first draft that I read somewhere that you should NEVER write about real life events. The reasoning had to do with writers being too close to the story, and not putting enough details in for the reader to feel it too. I panicked when I read that. "I don't know what I'm doing! I'm a hack! I'll never get published!"
But writing what I know has been good to me. My second novel, also a dogsledding adventure, is with my agent, Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It is also full of my own actual experiences. After more than ten years hanging off the back of a dogsled, traveling fifteen mph down a narrow, twisting trail, I have many stories to share.
One day, my team and I met up with a grumpy beaver. That incident made it into chapter one of Dogsled Dreams. Another time, I was surrounded by wolves, far from any roads, at night, alone with my team. I thought that also deserved a scene in the story.
When Dogsled Dreams, was released this year, I didn't know what to expect - much like my first dogsled ride. But one of the best things I've discovered in the last few years is the people in the writing community are so supportive and kind. I feel honored to be part of two amazing groups. Yeah, sometimes strange, but I like it that way.
Terry Lynn Johnson has a passion for sled dogs. Her own adventures with her team of eighteen Alaskan Huskies has provided her with a rich background to write from. She has had numerous articles published in outdoor magazines, and recently won the Maxwell Medallion of Excellence from the Dog Writers Association of America. Dogsled Dreams is her debut novel.
For more information visit her at www.terrylynnjohnson.com
or her blog:
Today Seekerville will be giving away a copy of Dogsled Dreams to one poster. So be sure to come out of lurking and to chat with Terry!