I am lucky to have a wide network of supportive family, friends and colleagues. A few of my biggest champions include my husband, my mother, my friends of 25 years, and my former administrative assistant. At every turn, they encourage me to pursue my love of writing. But the most surprising influence in my career has been someone I never would have expected: my 8-year-old son.
Like most kids he learned to read when he was in Kindergarten, and he picked it up quickly. He devoured early readers and moved on to chapter books the summer before first grade. He read the entire “Magic Tree house” series and I scrambled to find books to keep up with him. One day he turned to me and said, “Mom, you’re a writer. Would you write me a chapter book?” I had written everything from poetry to press releases, but it never occurred to me to write a children’s book. “Sure. I could do that,” I said. My son told me what he wanted it to be about, and I wrote it. I came up with a cover design and gave him a paperback copy for his 7th birthday. The look in his eyes when he opened up the book was enough to propel me into the world of children’s book writing.
I realize many writers have had similar experiences writing for their children and grandchildren. But my son’s enthusiasm didn’t stop there. With his help, I turned the first book into a series of six books for him and my younger son. Then I wrote another chapter book, Tall Tales with Mr. K. It was his idea to bring a copy to his school librarian, and as a result I recently conducted my first school author visit. My son also inspired me to write my first middle grade book, Animal Andy, which will be available this August from Muse It Up Publishing.
I am currently a staff writer for the children’s emagazine knowonder! and my son and I have brainstorming sessions to come up with short story ideas. He asked if he could have a quarter for every idea of his that gets published. (I think they’re worth at least a dollar!) My son is a great critic too, providing honest feedback about what he likes and doesn’t like in my writing. Because of his support, I am an active member of SCBWI and attend several writing conferences and workshops each year to improve my skills.
After my son was born I put my corporate career on hold to stay home and raise him. At times it was difficult, especially as I watched friends and colleagues continue to have success in their careers. But it’s because of that decision and my middle grade muse that I have launched into an entirely new direction with my career, and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been.
Kathy Sattem Rygg is a freelance writer and author of Tall Tales with Mr. K, available in both print and for kindle from Amazon, and as an ebook in all other formats from Smashwords. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and two sons, and can be found on her blog at http://ksrwriter.blogspot.com.Book Description: The third-graders at Coyote Run Elementary thought the teacher's lounge is where teachers eat candy out of vending machines, watch TV and get to play video games. They didn't expect it to be a tropical island where they are kidnapped by pirates, a circus where they learn the flying trapeze, or a crime scene where they solve a jewelry heist.
Each chapter of this young middle-grade fantasy tells the story of a different student's adventure in the teacher's lounge accompanied by their mysterious new teacher, Mr. K. Only one student, Sam, decides to boldly go into the teacher's lounge by himself where he discovers something completely different yet.