Mar 13, 2007 Erin Smith Uncategorized
Ellen Yeoman of Baldwinsville has a passion for books. And rightfully so as she just published her third novel “Rubber Houses” that came out in January. Her previous novels included “Jubilee” and “Lost and Found: Remembering a Sister.”
The Baldwinsville Messenger recently interviewed Yeoman to find out more about her writing adventures.
Who is the audience for your books?
I write picture books for young children and novels for young adults.
What is your writing experience?
I’ve written somewhere in the vicinity of 100 manuscripts. Some of them may someday be books. Some of them became published magazine articles or essays. Most will never see print and paper. Three are books.
Have you always aspired to be a writer?
I have always loved books and reading, but I didn’t plan to become a writer. I began working part-time in bookstores. That’s where my love of children’s literature was rekindled. Eventually, I took a class and began writing. It was obvious to me that the children’s field was a lot more difficult to break into than the adult market. The standards were higher and that the writing had to be better to be published. So, I began writing for adults in the magazine market, trying to improve my skills. I studied, I read, I wrote. Eventually, my writing for children began to be published.
What inspires your writing?
The flippant answer is everything, but it’s true too. Snippets of conversation I overhear may sneak into a book. Situations may morph into plot threads and become included. Characters are everywhere: good and bad. One year, my daughter had a terrible elementary school teacher. I still regret that she had to endure her, but that teacher will one day appear as an antagonist in a novel. I’ll have to soften her a little or she wouldn’t be believable, though.
Small town life is good for a writer. A trip to the post office or breakfast at the Canal Walk Cafe is rife with future story possibilities.
What was it like finding a publisher and getting your books published?
It’s difficult to get published. First, you have to become a good writer and write a compelling story. Next, you have to do your homework and determine which publisher best matches your work. Submitting your work and following up on that correspondence takes a lot of time.
It’s typical to get many rejections before you ever get published. When a publisher accepts your writing, more work follows in the form of revisions. This is the best part of writing: clarifying and honing. The editorial process polishes the writing. I am grateful for all my editors.
How did it feel when you published your first book?
The first is always special, isn’t it?
Will you write more?
I have a novel that is a bit overdue to my publisher right now. And I have some more picture books to get out the door too. I can’t foresee a time that I won’t be writing.
Tell us a little about yourself and your history in Baldwinsville:
I moved to Baldwinsville in 1984 when I married my husband, Chris Arnold. I didn’t travel far though. I grew up on Long Branch Road, about five miles from my present home. I lived a few places in between: Pennsylvania, Montreal and Albany.
Chris and I had two daughters, Paige and Alexandra. Our eldest daughter, Paige, died from complications of leukemia. Our family, with the help of Palmer Elementary and the Baldwinsville community, puts on a fundraising event to benefit pediatric oncology at University Hospital every year in her memory. Paige’s Butterfly Run is a 5K certified race and we have a 3K fun run/walk and children’s Caterpillar Crawl too. We have a web site where people can go for more information on the event: pbrun.org.
Besides writing, I work a day or two a week at Barnes & Noble on Route 31, I teach writing courses at Onondaga Community College and I work everyday at Abbott Farms. I take care of the animals for the Abbotts. I love that job almost as much as I love writing.
How does it feel to be a successful author?
I don’t know that I would call myself successful, yet. I hope at some point, maybe a few more books down the road, I will feel successful. In the meantime, I love what I do and that’s good enough.
To obtain a copy of Yeoman’s books, visit Barnes & Noble on Route 31, or go online to BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com. Many independent bookstores carry her work, and those that don’t can order copies.
Tune into next week’s edition of the Baldwinsville Messenger for an interview with published Baldwinsville writer/poet Martin Walls.