I grew up on a small farm in Powder Springs, Georgia. We lived on a sandy dirt lane, and we had some chickens and three cows. Once we had a horse, but it bucked off my older sister—so that was the end of horses. My sisters, brother, and I have fond memories of gathering fresh eggs, being chased by cows, exploring swamps, and picking ripe strawberries that my mom would make into preserves in the firecracker-hot kitchen of a Georgia summer. My grandparents lived on a small farm next to ours, and my grandmother would also make true Southern meals with fresh vegetables from my granddad’s garden. My dad was also a significant figure in my childhood. Dad is always living life on the adventurous side—skydiving, scuba diving, hot-air balloon flying—and he taught me about living into possibility and faith. My mom immigrated to the U.S. at the age of fourteen from the Netherlands. So, on this side, I am a first-generation American—living out the American dream of my grandparents who left everything behind to come to this country after experiencing the atrocities of World War II. I was raised Southern Baptist and still rely on my faith and deep knowledge of the Bible in my writing and daily living. One of the most significant aspects of my childhood was living on twenty acres of woods and pasture in a rural setting. The land taught me so much about beauty, life, and spirituality. Along with my paternal Scottish and maternal Dutch ancestors, there are a few drops of Cherokee blood in the family tree on my dad’s side—and I sometimes wonder if my love for nature and the land comes from my Cherokee forebears. Either way, if I trace the taproot of my writing career it doesn’t begin with pencil and paper—it begins with golden sunsets sinking behind pine trees, green hardwood forests, a big rock at the edge of the woods overlooking a lake, the chants and chirps of crickets and frogs, the calls of whip-poor-wills heard from front porches—and the deep emotion and reverence I felt for it all. One of my first impulses to write came from my desire to capture the intense beauty I found in nature and my need to express the love I felt for it all. Another significant milestone in my writing journey came when my grandmother gave me a real diary—complete with a little lock and key—for my thirteenth birthday. Into these pages I poured out my joys and loves and dreams and, of course, the inevitable pains of life. I have been keeping a journal ever since. I also remember waking up on Saturday mornings and writing poems and doing well on my papers in high school, and my friends telling me that I should be a writer. My deep friendships—especially with my best friend, Linda—have been a constant subject and source of inspiration in my writing. My stepmother, Nena, also encouraged and helped me to follow my dreams in so many ways. My love of words led me to major in English at Mercer University—where I met Marshall Angle, who became another best friend, then my boyfriend, and, after we graduated, my husband. I went on to earn a master’s degree in English at Georgia State University. After this stint in studying great literature, I realized that my true dream was to create some literature of my own. So, with the support of my husband, family, and friends, I began writing articles, essays, and short stories. Later I tried my hand at novels and children’s literature. Some were published, others weren’t. Some won awards, others didn’t. Such is the way of writers. I read once that a writer writes a thousand words for every hundred words published. That may seem like a lot of wasted time and effort, but I’ve found that those thousands of unpublished words are important—they are the training ground, the proving ground for what comes next. The most important thing I did as a writer was to simply keep writing into the faith that God had given me the desire to say something into the world—something that was good and worthy—and that He would help me to say it. Along the way, I became the mother of a son and a daughter—Lochlan and Elaina—the purest sources of happiness in my life. My children have inspired my writing—especially my children’s literature. They have also taught me whole new dimensions of the meanings of love, fear, hope, dreams, and joy. After writing and raising my children for about ten years, I began my doctoral work at the University of South Carolina. There I attained a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric with an emphasis in creative writing. Now I teach creative writing at Montreat College—a beautiful college nestled in the midst of mountains in North Carolina, where I live with my husband and children and our dog, Josie Bean. One of my favorite books about writing is Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write. I highly recommend it to any aspiring writer. Along with Ueland, I believe that “everybody is “talented, original, and has something important to say.” It’s simply up to you to believe it for yourself and to work, work, work at getting it right. Words are powerful. They have the potential to change minds and hearts and, thus, the world. So, if you have the dream, begin writing today. Then write some more. And, no matter what, keep writing.
Kimberly Greene Angle
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Twelve-year-old March Anne Tanner's life is tied to the simple rhythms and cycles of the watermelon farm in Jubilee, Georgia, that she has grown up on. Thanks to Grenna, her grandmother and surrogate...