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Lynn Brunelle, Suzanne Selfors, SW, Deborah Madison

Women Who Inspired my Career

March is a month where we honor women and one thing that I keep reflecting on is the many women who have inspired me in my writing career through the years.

  1. Ruth Krauss – author of THE CARROT SEED, the first book I read by myself, age 4. It’s the ultimate saga of holding on to your beliefs against all odds. This mindset is mandatory if you want to be a writer.
  2. Louise Fitzhugh – author of HARRIET THE SPY, which inspired me to tell the truth on paper, even if it gets me in trouble. Note: Please read the book and skip the movie.
  3. Mrs Marjorie Green, my Grade 3 teacher in Olean, NY. She told me, “If you want to be a writer, then you should be writing.” She gave me all the materials–paper, pencil, stapler, tape, and sent me off to write. She used to read my stories aloud to the class. One copy remains of A BOOK ABOUT SOME BAD KIDS.
  4. Madeleine L’Engle – A WRINKLE IN TIME was one of my favorite books, and it’s now a timeless classic. I met Madeleine when she visited the school where I was teaching. She was outspoken, awkward, honest, and fiercely intelligent. As a new mom and emerging writer, I was trying not to be discouraged as the rejections rolled in, and she said, “The only way to fail is to give up.” She gave me an autographed copy of A WRINKLE IN TIME for my daughter. A year later, I sold my first book.
  5. Anne Frank – The pages of her diary are stained with my tears. I read it countless times when I was a young girl. “Look how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” Note: Find a copy of the unabridged version.
  6. Brenda Euland – She wrote IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, a manifesto for busy working women who insist on following their dreams.
  7. Anne Rice – Her sister Alice Borchardt was in my first critique group. I met Anne just as I was starting out, and she was generous with her advice.
  8. Critique groups – since 1986, I’ve participated in some way or other in critique groups and retreats. I love the shared creative energy, the fellowship, and the encouragement and generosity of writers, including the late Alice Borchardt, Joyce Bell, Arnette Lamb, Barbara Dawson Smith (Olivia Drake), Anjali Banerjee, Kate Breslin, Lynn Brunelle, Carol Cassella, Janine Donoho, Lois Faye Dyer, Debbie Macomber, Maureen McQuerrie, Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors, Elsa Watson, Elizabeth Engstrom, and Elizabeth George…to name a few!
  9. My publishing team – Through the years, it’s been mostly women at all levels—literary agents, editors, marketing and PR experts and more. To sustain a 35-year writing journey, it takes creativity, business savvy, excellent taste, lively debate, and flexibility. There are so many things that can go wrong in the journey of a book from idea to printed page. so these women have been my most valued colleagues.
  10. Booksellers who are in it for the passion – Jane Danielson of Eagle Harbor Books and Suzanne Selfors of Liberty Bay Books.
  11. Librarians – They have kept my career alive by knowing what readers want. They’ve invited me to their hallowed halls to discuss, debate, and find common ground in our dedication to intellectual freedom, no matter what.
  12. Readers – I’ve never met most of my readers, but I’m inspired just knowing they are out there, eager to read my books, outspoken with their opinions, passionate in their love for stories that uplift and affirm women.
  13. My family- I am surrounded by wonderful strong women in my family, my mother, daughter and grand daughter all inspire me every day.

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