Interview with Author Nancy Furstinger
Nancy Furstinger has been speaking up for animals since she learned to talk, and she hasn’t shut up yet. She is the author of nearly 100 books, including many on her favorite topic: animals! She has a trio of rescued pooches and 7 house rabbits.
Nancy Furstinger is the author of nearly 100 books, including many on her favorite topic: animals! She started her writing career in third grade, when a play she wrote was performed by her class. Since then, Nancyhas been a feature writer for a daily newspaper, a managing editor of trade and consumer magazines, and an editor at two children’s book publishing houses. She shares her home with 3 dogs and 7 house rabbits (all rescued), volunteers and fosters pets for several animal organizations, and is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. http://web.me.com/nancyfurstinger/Animal_Author/Welcome.html
Interview with Nancy Furstinger author of Maggie’s Second Chance.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? The last adult book was “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend” by Susan Orlean. The first third of the book was the intriguing history of the famous dog, but then it spiraled into stories of human obsession and greed. The last children’s book was “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick–another marvelous masterpiece interweaving two stories through narrative and illustration–nearly as spellbinding as “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.”
What were your earliest memories of writing? When I was in the third grade, I wrote a play that my class performed–I thought it was wonderful to hear my words being spoken and decided to become a writer. And when I was in the fourth grade, we were elevated to the Ink Club, switching from pencil to pen, which is not as smudgy an instrument for a left-handed kid.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? It always came naturally (and still does). Several of my teachers encouraged me, especially my 8th grade teacher who foresaw my writing career. She told me to write about what I love (sage advice), so I write about all types of animals–wild and domestic. However, never being passionate about history or science, I’m determined to bring both of these subjects to life so kids will be intrigued by them.
What was your favorite children’s book? “Alice in Wonderland”–I continue to adore this book and find it fascinating on a multitude of levels. I have an array of theAlice books, but the original Tenniel illustrations cannot be topped.
Are you working on a new book? Yes, several! Among them is a biography about the founder of the ASPCA, who lead a fascinating life and persisted in his quest to champion animals (and children) despite ridicule and hostility. I’m also working on a fictional “tail” of a rabbit whose family loses interest after the excitement of Easter and banishes her to an outdoor cage, where she nearly loses hope until she is finally rescued and re-homed (loosely based on the past life of my big red-eyed white bunny, Marshmallow Fluff).
What inspired you to write Maggie’s Second Chance? Two nonfiction stories: the inspiring story of the 4th graders who started D.A.W.G.S. (Dalhart Animal Welfare Group and Sanctuary), who I profiled in my book “ASPCA Kids: Kids Making a Difference for Animals,” and the story of how I rescued my third dog, Jolly, who had been abandoned in 2006. This has become a pertinent topic today, alas, with foreclosure pets. I interwove both stories into a fictional book, giving it a young protagonist because kids prefer to read about their peers as heroes.
What is the most difficult part of writing? I love to research, so if I’m not careful I might find myself going off on an irrelevant tangent for hours. And with my background as an editor, I have to turn off that internal critic when I start writing.
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I love to hike up mountains with my dogs, take photographs, bake, swim, and kayak. I also believe in giving back so I volunteer with several animal organizations, donate a percentage of my book proceeds, and visit schools with my books and my furry family.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I became a full-time freelancer when the imprints of two book publishing companies I worked for were dissolved. I’m fortunate to write from my home office, surrounded by dogs and rabbits.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Thankfully I’ve never experienced either.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? That children have the power to make a difference in the life of an animal. As I wrote in my ASPCA book: Perhaps you’re wondering, “I’m just one kid. How can I make a difference for animals?” Throughout history, the power of one ordinary person has sometimes changed the world in extraordinary ways. The inspiring kids in this book used compassion to help combat cruelty and assist homeless animals.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? There are oodles, but probably Philip Pullman would be at the top of my list. With a wave of his pen, he can create entire imaginary worlds. I have a multitude of questions for the man whose imagination inspired the heroic fantasy “His Dark Materials” trilogy. And since I adore writing about animals, I’d like to have a roundtable of animal authors who inspire me, including Richard Adams, Beatrix Potter, James Herriot, E. B. White, Dick King-Smith, and Eric Knight–what a memorable meal that would be!
What author inspires you the most and why? It’s almost laughably cliched at this point, but Dr. Seuss, who said so much using so few words. His books were revolutionary at the time. I tend to overwrite and then cut like mad, so I’d like to learn the method to his concise vision. And his imagination is zany, like mine!
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I recall the words of Jane Yolen, who I met at a writers’ conference: Butt in chair! I tend to write when the inspiration strikes, but push myself to constantly promote and market.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Read to your kids even before they are born to create a lifelong reader. Ask the advice of your librarian–a wonderful free resource in every community. If you’re searching for a picture book, be aware that you will be reading it a multitude of times so make sure that the text will also hold your interest.
What advice you would give to new writers? Read, read, read: old books and new, best-sellers and obscure! And then just let the words flow without editing. When you’re all written out, put your story aside for several days and then read it with a new perspective. Don’t be afraid to pare away the adjectives and adverbs to create a stronger story. A critique group can be invaluable to offer constructive criticism and advice.
And remember to keep your sense of humor. Author Dean Koontz said this about slippers shaped like rabbits: “Bunny slippers remind me of who I am. You can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers. You can’t lose your sense of perspective and start acting like a star or a rich lady if you keep on wearing bunny slippers. Besides, bunny slippers give me confidence because they’re so jaunty. They make a statement; they say, ‘Nothing the world does to me can ever get me so far down that I can’t be silly and frivolous.’ If I died and found myself in Hell, I could endure the place if I had bunny slippers.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? I recently learned from my publisher that “Maggie’s Second Chance: A Gentle Dog’s Rescue” was awarded the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medal Spirit Award for most humane book! I’m thrilled. You can read about all of the Moonbeam books at:http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1483
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
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Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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