When I ask students how long they think it took for Gone Fishing to become a book, their guesses usually begin at a month, then two months, six months, a year. And after several guesses, each upping the timeframe a bit more, when I reveal the answer: six years (four years on my own, then two more years with the help of my editor) – their eyes grow big – for some of them that’s a lifetime. The topic we don’t get into is: how long it took to prepare myself to be ready to write books before I began writing Gone Fishing. The answer to that question is a lifetime – my lifetime.
|Grandma Will reading a big book to |
my sister & me (notice my grabby hand.)
I started to become a writer when I was a baby – it’s true. I was lucky enough to have parents who read to me, to have grandmas and grandpas and uncles and aunts who gave books as gifts, to have an older sister who would read to me then with me, and a younger brother who listened to me read to him. As a very young child I fell in love – with rhythm, rhyme, stories. Eventually, with the help of thoughtful librarians and patient teachers, I began reading and writing stories and poetry on my own.
On this Valentine’s Day, love and authorship are melting together – I get credit for writing down words in a way that could form a book that others might enjoy reading – I give credit to those who cared enough about me to put engaging books in my hands, ensured that I knew how to enjoy reading them, and taught me how to write. My road to publication began long before Gone Fishing and involved great acts of affection, patience, kindness, faith – from many people who loved me and wanted me to be happy.
This Valentine’s Day I’m feeling fortunate and grateful. I hope you all have a happy day.
Tamera Wissinger writes stories and poetry for children. She is a graduate of Hamline University's MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her first book, Gone Fishing, arrived from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013 after six years in development, and her first picture book, THIS OLD BAND, arrived last June from Sky Pony Press. You can connect with Tamera online at www.tamerawillwissinger.com, on Twitter: @TameraWissinger, or on Facebook.