The Writerly Life

Tricia Brown 2013

“I’m a writer.”

         I’ve discovered those are the three of the hardest words to say. And when I confess that to budding writers, I get the same reaction. Fear of being found out for the fraud I really am. The big names, those are the Writers. Me, I just write…and edit…and develop another person’s ideas into a book.

        Is it glamorous? No. Another confession: I’ve been at a book-signing where people pass by and ask me where the bathroom is.

        Yes, a humbling experience. But I’ve also known the thrill of reading thank-you notes from classrooms that I’ve visited. Hearing from my readers first-hand. That’s the best.

        “Yeah, but what do you DO?”

         Well, I’ll tell you.

         Because I began my writing career in Alaska newspapers and magazines, Alaska subjects are my expertise. There are other Tricia Browns in the databases. I always say, If it’s about Alaska, it’s mine. I lived there for twenty-one years before moving to Oregon and continued to make frequent trips north, until I moved back in mid-2016. So traveling all over the state to visit classrooms, speak, do research and find inspiration is part of the job, too.

         I worked as an acquisitions editor for Alaska Northwest Books for years, a job that moved me “Outside,” which for an Alaskan means “anywhere not Alaska.” So we lived in the Portland area for sixteen years before the boomerang move back to Alaska.

         I spend most of my time developing and editing books that already are on the path to publication. I work for various publishers. So my bosses change with each new project. Yet often I work closely with the same people who take the text when I’m done with it and design and produce a beautiful book.

          Writing children’s books is my joy. Maybe that’s because I have six grandchildren. I’ll never forget when one of them went into my office and came back with The Itchy Little Musk Ox to read to his little brother. Listening to that sweet voice reading the pages I know so well…my heart just swelled.

          There is no typical day. While Perry’s off to work, I work at home with two golden retrievers and a cat vying for my attention. I may be at my desk fully dressed, wearing shoes and make-up, ready to roll. I may be in my jammies, unaware that time has passed until the FedEx guy rings the doorbell. Oh, yay.

           My off-duty time includes reading, too. I usually seek out the new fiction at the library, and get recommendations through my connections at Goodreads.

           Usually I have three or more book projects going on at the same time. Last year at this time, I was preparing to launch a new history of St. Helens, Oregon, released by Arcadia Press. I had a leftover batch of research from that and couldn’t let it go, so I wrote a lengthy history piece for the Columbia County Museum Association’s “HISTORY” magazine. I *love*  history, so that was fun. Here in Alaska, I’m involved with the Alaska SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators), and I am promoting my newest kids’ book, Bobbie the Wonder Dog, as I’m writing another called Zig the Warrior Princess. (Two more true stories of amazing dogs.)

            So that’s my world. I’ve been blessed to know and work with so many talented people. Idea people. Can-do people. Faith-building people. And we do sharpen each other, don’t we?

Must go. I have to do the dishes. There’s still that, you know.



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