December’s featured author is Ann Boaden, co-author of two young adult novels, short fiction, and creative non-fiction, including her most recent work, Light and Leaven: Women Who Shaped Augustana’s First Century, published by the Augustana Historical Society in 2011. Light and Leaven contains portraits of women who changed the character of Augustana College by their vision, energy, and dauntless love, set within the historical context in which they lived and worked.
Ann was inspired to write Light and Leaven by the fact no one had devoted significant time and research to tell the stories of Augustana’s women. She wanted to tell those stories and the more she researched and the more she dug out materials from the crumbling boxes and yellowed papers and journals of the past, the more the women became alive for her and the more she came to know, admire, and love them.
Under the name of Ann Young with co-author, Karin Youngberg, Ann has published two young adult novels: The Nine Days Wonder published by East Hall Press in 2002 and The Mysteryof the Singing Mermaid originally published by Weekly Reader Books in 1987. The Nine Days Wonder is a lively adventure story set in Shakespeare’s England that tells the story of the journey of a boy’s growing up with all the color, mystery, and danger of Elizabeth England. The Mystery of the Singing Mermaid tells the story of a smart, spunky teenager who sets out to answer the questions of what’s going on in a spooky old mansion with a possible ghost, and who stole the antiques from the mansion.
For as long as Ann could remember, she’s loved telling, hearing and reading stories, becoming a part of the story, acting it out, finding friends and even parts of her in the characters. So it wasn’t a big jump from there to wanting to make up her own stories, invent her own characters, and later, exploring real people from history and trying to make them come alive in her own words. When she is not writing, Ann works as a professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Augustana College. She also likes to act, walk, and experiment with cooking.
Ann will be at Midwest Writing Center December 8th from 1 to 3 p.m., reading from, signing, and selling Light and Leaven as part of MWC’s and Bettendorf Public Library’s Read Local Program. It is the last installment of the series for 2012.
For aspiring writers, Ann offers this advice: “Be bloody, bold, and resolute! Well, maybe not bloody, but certainly bold and resolute. It’s not an easy calling, but if it’s yours, there’s none more intensely important than shaping experience with words. You must be persistent, patient, and most of all, you must be wiling to work at the craft and art of writing, draft after draft, revision after revision.”