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May 9, 2015

Kathryn Springer on Her Mother’s Encouragement

Posted by emily

Kathryn Springer’s latest book, THE DANDELION FIELD, is about a handsome firefighter and a headstrong single mom who find that romance can bloom in the rockiest of places. But Kathryn wasn’t always a bestselling author; once upon a time, she was a little girl who sat at her mother’s desk and banged out stories about horses on a manual typewriter. To this day, Kathryn is grateful that her mom let her sit behind that desk --- and that she wholeheartedly encouraged Kathryn’s creative writing.

I grew up in a family who loved the written word. My parents, co-editors of a newspaper in a small, northern Wisconsin town, wrote their own column every week. My mother’s column was called “Dropping a Line,” and she would write about everything from the view of the sunrise over Lake Lucerne to her views on parenting.

Books collected like dust bunnies in our house --- under the coffee tables and next to the beds. One of my earliest childhood memories is me and Mom snuggled up together while she read the “Laura” books. We became so engrossed in the series, exploring the prairie and “the little house in the big woods,” she kept reading them out loud long after I was able to read them myself! Mom also introduced me to strong heroines like Jo March, Sarah Crewe and Nancy Drew --- young women who stood up for themselves and the people they loved or somehow ended up saving the day.

On the weekends, my parents would bring me down to “the shop,” and Mom would let me sit behind her desk. While she proofread ads and articles (something she --- ahem --- still does even though she’s retired), I plunked out stories on her Smith-Corona manual typewriter. My very first “book,” written when I was working my way through Marguerite Henry’s Chincoteague series, was about a talking horse. I wanted a horse in the worst way, but we lived in town, so that was out of the question --- even though I did suggest my brother’s room. I must have decided the only way I could have a horse was if I wrote about one and put myself in the book. I think that’s when I realized I enjoyed telling stories as much I loved reading them.

A gifted journalist, Mom was a just-the-facts kind of gal, but unlike most mothers, she encouraged me to make up stories. Although it must have been a sacrifice, my parents came up with the money to send me to “creative writing” camp in the summer. The positive feedback I received encouraged me to keep writing.

After my debut novel, TESTED BY FIRE, was published, Mom presented me with a beautiful scrapbook highlighting my writer’s journey. She’s my first reader, book signing assistant, cheerleader and finder of lost words. We don’t live in the same town anymore, but we still read books together and talk about them. During a recent visit, Mom handed me a copy of THE PRINCESS BRIDE she’d found at a book sale. “I thought Lindsey and Norah might want to read this.”

Lindsey and Norah are my daughters…and the legacy continues.

Thank you, Mom.