Quote of the Week

Today’s quote is from Terri Main, author of Dark Side of the Moon. The quote isn’t so much writing advice as it is humorous. Last night, my family was discussing flu shots. A fairly normal topic this time of year, right? Meanwhile, I was deep in thought about how a government could use a flu shot and control people with it through mini microchips or nanobots. I was half-way through plotting that book by the time dinner was over. So, yes, the “normal” ship has sailed without me on it. ūüėČ

“You are a writer. The ‘normal’ ship sailed without you long ago.” – Terri Main

~ Kayla

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Author Profile – Isaac Asimov

Last week, I had the opportunity¬†to visit¬†a different branch of my library system. I explored this library’s much bigger¬†Y book section and came out with a pile of books.¬†I decided to poke around the classic book section as well. There, I found Isaac Asimov’s novel I, Robot, a classic science fiction novel. So, I added it to the pile, and it’s now waiting to be read. Before I started it though, I wanted to know a little bit more about this author.¬†I thought I’d share what I learned about him!

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Isaac Asimov was born¬†somewhere between October 4 and January 2, 1920. His exact birth date is not known. Asimov later chose to¬†celebrate his birthday¬†in January. His parents immigrated to the USA from Russia when he was young, and they lived in New York City. Isaac loved learning and taught himself to read by the age of five. His family owned a candy shop, and¬†Asimov helped out there.¬†On the newsstand in the store, there were some¬†science fiction magazines. Asimov wasn’t allowed to read them, but when a new one appeared on the stand called Science Wonder Stories, Isaac successfully convinced his father to let him read it. From then on, he was a devoted¬†fan of science fiction. At eleven, he decided to try to write his own novel, called The Greenville Chums at College. He never finished it, thinking it wasn’t good enough. At fifteen, he graduated high school and¬†entered Columbia University. He eventually earned his¬†Bachelor of Science degree, and later his M.A., and Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry.

Asimov was a very successful writer who wrote over 500 works, but “Cosmic Corkscrew,”¬†the first short story he submitted for publication, was rejected. The editor of the magazine, John W. Campbell, kindly gave him suggestions for his writing and encouraged him to keep at it. Several years later in 1939 his first short story “Marooned off Vesta”¬†was published in Amazing Stories. His most famous short story is “Nightfall,” and in 1941, it was called the best science fiction story ever written!¬†Asimov’s most famous trilogy, The Foundation Trilogy, was published in 1951-53.¬†I, Robot was published in 1950. In the book, he talked about a positronic brain which later inspired the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, to create the android named Data. Asimov is considered one of the “Big Three” of science fiction writing.

In researching Isaac Asimov, I learned that he enjoyed small, enclosed spaces. He was also terrified of flying, and managed to avoid travelling by plane for most of his life.

Here is an article I found by him where Asimov gives advice to writers about doubts, rejection, and dealing with success. I read the whole thing, and really enjoyed it.

http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/pickover/writerasimov.html

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Author Profile – Ted Dekker

This month, I read Green by Ted Dekker, and I adored it! Since I enjoyed Green so much, I was curious to learn a bit more about its author.

It turns out that Ted Dekker has led a pretty interesting life. He was born on October 24, 1962 in Indonesia to missionary parents. He and his family lived in the jungle where his parents ministered to a tribe¬†of cannibals.¬†He was sent to a coastal boarding school when he was six which meant living apart from his parents for months at a time. Being lonely for much of his childhood, he¬†created an imaginary world to live in. He left Indonesia before graduating high school, and lived in the United States where he studied philosophy and religion, earning a Bachelor’s Degree. For the next few years, he did a variety of jobs such as buying and selling businesses, marketing, and healthcare services. When a friend of his wrote a novel, Mr. Dekker decided to pursue his dream of becoming a novelist.¬†He wrote two novels in the next two years and decided that he wanted to become a full-time novelist. He sold his business, moved to Colorado, and starting writing full time. Two years later in 2000, Heaven’s Wager, his first novel, was published.¬†Now Mr. Dekker is¬†a NY Times bestselling author of¬†well-known books such as BoneMan’s Daughters, House, and Thr3e.

His writing day starts at¬†7:00 A.M., when he edits the previous day’s work for an hour, and then goes on to write 3000 words until 6:00 P.M. Mr. Dekker likes to listen to loud, atmospheric, and emotional¬†music while he writes. In a Goodreads interview, he mentions that he was currently listening to the Tron soundtrack. He says that music helps him “shut out the world.” Mr. Dekker writes with a Mac computer and in case you were wondering what the lunch of a best-selling author is, Mr. Dekker¬†says in a interview with the Examiner that he typically eats peanuts. At 6:00 P.M., he stops writing, and spends the evening with his family.¬†While in the middle of writing¬†one of his¬†novels, Mr.¬†Dekker goes to a resort for two to three weeks and locks himself in a hotel room where he says, “I’ll write 4,000 or 5,000 words a day. All I do is write.”

I loved this quote I read where he told how he became an author:

“I studied philosophy, religious studies, and English. My training was writing four full-length novels and hiring an editor to tear them apart. I had enough money to do that, and then rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. And then sending them off, sending them off, sending them off through a agent until finally I had something like four offers from four different publishers in the same month.”

Mr. Dekker’s website is here:

http://teddekker.com/

You can find the two interviews I referenced here:

http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/579.Ted_Dekker

http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-ted-dekker-author-of-the-bride-collector-absolutely-best-beach-read

I can’t wait to read the next book in The Circle Series and read some of his other works, too!

What do you think of Ted Dekker’s books? Have you read any by him?

~ Kayla

Classic Authors – O. Henry

Pop quiz! Which famous short story author embezzled bank funds and was imprisoned? Which author’s pen name could have come from the family cat? If you answered O. Henry to both of these questions, you’d be correct. If you didn’t know who O. Henry was (or even if you did!), read on to find out more about this interesting author!

O. Henry was born William Sidney (he later changed it to ‘Sydney’) Porter on September 11, 1862 in North Carolina. When he was fifteen, he became a clerk in his uncle’s drugstore. It was the local gathering place of the town, and his observations and interactions there later became some of the material for his writing.

A few years later, due to a bad cough, he moved to Texas. There he eloped with a rich girl named Athol, and they had one daughter named Margaret. Henry worked for a bank in Austin, but was forced to quit after being accused of embezzling bank funds. During that same time, he had started a humorous weekly called The Rolling Stone, but that was never successful and failed within a year.

He then worked for¬†the¬†Houston Post before being arrested on the charge of embezzlement. He was taken to jail, but the day before his trial, Henry disappeared, travelling to New Orleans and then Honduras. However, while he was avoiding the law, he heard that his wife was dying. Henry returned to the U.S., where he gave himself up to the courts. After his wife’s death, Henry was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison, but his jail term was shortened to three years for his good behavior.

To support his daughter while in prison, Henry started writing. Some say he used a pen name so that his readers wouldn’t know he was in prison! There are¬†many possibilities as to where the name O. Henry¬†came from.¬†The name may have¬†originated from his calling for the family cat, “Oh, Henry!” Others say it came from¬†using some of the letters from Ohio Penitentiary, the jail where he was being held, or from one of the prison guards there.¬†Porter himself said that the name came from flipping through the newspaper with his friend and choosing the name from there. Wherever it came from, it became an extremely popular name, one whose stories everyone loved.

After being released from jail, Henry married again, but the marriage was not happy, and his wife left him.

O.¬†Henry died in 1910, leaving behind many wonderful short stories that we still enjoy today. Henry is known for his dry humor and stories that end with a surprise. There’s an award today bearing his name given to authors of short stories that are especially well written. Today, many people are pushing for O. Henry to be pardoned for his crime. He still hasn’t been pardoned yet, but perhaps one day! There was even a US postage stamp issued commemorating his 150th birthday on September 11, 2012.

O. Henry was famous for many of his stories, but two favorites are “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief.”

“The Gift of the Magi” is a Christmas story about a couple who do not have a lot of money but want to get each other a Christmas gift. You can read the story here:

http://www.auburn.edu/~vestmon/Gift_of_the_Magi.html.

“The Ransom of Red Chief” is the story of two men who kidnap a little boy in the¬†hopes of getting reward money for him. Things don’t exactly go according to plan though, and the end result is a very entertaining story! You can read it here:

http://www.online-literature.com/yeats/1041/

~ Kayla