February 28, 2012

Introducing Karen Norton: Author of PattySue Stories

Today I'm excited to have the honor of introducing you all to Karen Norton. This is a woman that I have always admired. She is now a published author of several books, including PattySue Finds a Home, but I will always remember her as Mrs. Norton- Head of The Independent School.

You can read a little more about Karen and The Independent School here.

Introducing Karen Norton: Author of PattySue Stories
PattySue, Kathy Simms-Melzer, and Karen Norton at the Kansas Humane Society

1. What inspired you to write the PattySue Stories?

When I met PattySue, it didn't take me long to realize that she had a very special personality. Since her owner, Kathy Simms-Melzer, and I are friends, we would walk together at least twice a week. Several times I had told Kathy I was going to write a story about PattySue, because she kept doing funny things. We wrote the book about 4 years ago, but because we couldn't afford to put it in print, it just sat. About two years ago, Kathy's son suggested we turn it into an eBook, since many of his friends with young children used iPads and Nooks for their children. After diligently searching for and finding an illustrator (Donavan Lawrence) who had the technical knowledge to create an eBook, we headed down that path.

Introducing Karen Norton: Author of PattySue Stories

2. Will there be more books about PattySue and her adventures?

Definitely! We already have one nearly completed and two in the "thought" stage. The next one will be PattySue learning about friendship, since she tries to play with every animal she encounters . . . some with not so great results! Luckily, she doesn't meet many skunks or porcupines.

Introducing Karen Norton: Author of PattySue Stories

3. As a published writer, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

In the book Anne of Green Gables, Anne's friend, Gilbert, told Anne to "write what you know." Although I read Anne many years ago, I have always remembered that line, though I didn't really think it applied to me because I never anticipated becoming a writer. When I retired, I began to write a history of an area where I grew up. It didn't occur to me that I was writing what I know . . . but I was. My subsequent endeavors have included writing about The Independent School (A School Like No Other), which I know well, and PattySue. Suddenly, Gilbert's advice seemed so smart.

Also, this is not a process to be done by oneself. After I wrote the first draft of PattySue, Kathy read it and made many suggestions. Although she didn't tell me the book was boring, I guarantee you that her experience as an English major and as a principal player in a children's theater troupe (Tales for Tots) brought PattySue, Hugo, and Oscar to life. We needed each other to bring the story to fruition. With suggestions from many more adults and some children, we finally landed on what we think is a fun, lively story that is mostly true!

Introducing Karen Norton: Author of PattySue Stories
Introducing Karen Norton: Author of PattySue Stories
How cute is this?

Where to find PattySue Stories~

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