I’m interviewing Laurie Hyman today, author of the “Sweet Tales” series featuring cats! I love cats and kids books, so I couldn’t miss out on hosting this series.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I always enjoyed the creative process of writing, whether it was cards and letters, poems, or just putting my thoughts on paper. When I had the time and money I started taking fictional writing classes in New York City, first at the New School, and then at Manhattan Marymount. After a few years, I continued working with the same professor Anna Monardo and joined her private collaborative workshops. This included different writing assignments given to the group as well as working on our projects. FYI, Anna is now a Professor in the Writer’s Workshop, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
My skills grew, allowing me to refine my imagination, and develop good storylines and wonderful characters. It’s amazing when you start writing about a character and they join you and together you journey with words and create a story that takes shape and then comes to life. I fell in love with the creative process and was able to produce quality work. Anna encouraged, taught, and guided me as I developed the talent and skills to become a writer.
Then, when I was told my work was publishable, the realization was amazing. And, when I completed the final draft of the first Sweet Tales book, stories inspired by the two cats I lived with Jade and Brittany, I felt empowered and believed I could actually be an author. That reality fueled my desire to become an author with a capital ‘A’. I wanted it! And, now I am an Author of not one but two books!
What inspired you to write Sweet Tales?
My professor taught, especially when I just beginning of becoming a writer, to ‘write about what you know’, which is what I did in several areas. Sweet Tales was one of areas I developed. It was easy for me to begin a ‘free write’, which is just putting your fingers to work on a keyboard (at first a typewriter then a computer) and open my mind and let my thoughts flow. It was so easy for me to do, and usually I would do a ‘spit’ as we called it, of seven pages.
I would think about the cats I had, first street (ferral) cats when I was a kid in the Bronx, then those that lived with me, both in New York City and then at our country home in upstate New York. The cat’s stories began to flow from one storyline to another and they came to life with a beginning, middle and end. There are four stories in the first book… the inspiration behind them is based on actual events. The first is about being lonely child needing a friend. The second is set in the country where I observed how the wildlife in the area interacted with one another as a community. The third is based on a horse that lived across the road from us and disappeared one day. And in the fourth, about the environment and how it impacts not only people, but the animals and the earth as well.
The second Sweet Tales book includes three heartwarming stories loosely based on real events that happened over the years.
Brittany and Lace are the thread that tells the tale of how they became sisters and how Lace’s litter wound up in a pet store, and were exposed to acts of animal cruelty by a very bad pet store owner. That man, who actually exists, was finally put out of business last year.
My education in what happens to innocent animals inspired me to become their advocate, and I could as an author, tell their tale about finding a home and seeking justice through these fun adventurous stories, which I hope everyone will enjoy.
And, as I learned from the SPCA, animal abusers don’t just abuse animals they usually abuse humans, too.
What is your editing process like?
My editing process has changed over the years. When I was younger, most of my writing was personal, other than letters or work related so there was no need to involve anyone else. When I began taking classes I had a professor and other members of workshops. Our process was to complete assignments and turn them over to our professor which she would edit and comment on. We’d also take turns reading our writing out loud with the group and critique each other work.
When I became more serious about my writing I would ask those close to me to let me read my work out loud so I could hear it and edit/make notes as we went through the work. Then, when I was offered a publishing deal I worked with Dorie Riendeau, my editor. Together we tweaked and fixed the book by enhancing characters and correcting grammar, since she was a teacher and very up-to-date with current grammar guidelines. On the second book we worked together from the beginning, met at least once a week, and talked over the phone as needed. Before the book was published Lisa Keller was hired to do a final edit and polish. I was blessed to have both of them by my side.
Did you set any writing goals for 2017?
My goal is to finish the Book #3 and have it published, early in 2018.
Are you working on something now?
Yes! I have started the third book in the Sweet Tales series, titled “The Adventures of Lace and Maggie”. The book’s two stars are Lace all grown up and Maggie will be her kitten. Their adventure will be fun for readers of all ages and great to read aloud. Just like the first two.
About the Book
Title: Sweet Tales
Author: Laurie Hyman
Genre: Children’s Books
The Adventures of Brittany and Lace, the second book in the Sweet Tales series, is the perfect chapter book or read-out-loud book for animal lovers of all ages! Told from the animals’ point of view, these three charming stories center around Britt the Kit, now a grown-up tabby cat, and a special litter of rescued kittens—Lace, our new co-star destined to be Brittany’s new sister, Coco, who needs a home, Scamp and Willa. Exploring universal themes, with lots of trouble and adventure in between, each story is resolved with determination, love, and understanding. When needed, humans help, along with a colorful group of animal friends. An enjoyable book for the entire family – or anyone who enjoys a good tale!
“An educational adventure story for young animal lovers that delivers justice where it’s deserved.” -Kirkus Reviews
”The overall sense of caring, community, and responsibility for others is palpable throughout.”
Original Art: Belinda DelPesco
Cover Design: Heather Wood
“Writing is my creative outlet,” says Laurie Hyman, author of Sweet Tales: The Adventures of Brittany and Lace. The children’s series is written from the perspectives of cats, dogs, horses, woodchucks, coyotes, squirrels, crows and various other animals. The stories explore universal themes such as family, friends, bullying, animal cruelty, abandonment and rescue, and the environment. These books will appeal to readers of all ages, says Laurie, who comes from a creative family. Her father was a writer and her brother, David Saperstein, wrote the novel on which the hit movie, Cocoon was based.
But her creativity doesn’t begin and end with books. Laurie has extensive experience representing recording artists such as Barry Manilow and working as a producer and program coordinator for film, television, music and video companies. She was assistant producer on Nurse, the acclaimed 1981 CBS network drama starring Michael Learned and Robert Reed. Laurie also associate produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Coming Out of Their Shells, a documentary about the making of the live musical tour based on the hit movies and TV series.
Laurie Hyman is passionate about the creative process, which she finds fascinating and fulfilling. She has also worked extensively as a senior health care advocate and she developed the Health Navigator Program for ReServe Inc. where she supervised several volunteers for NYC hospitals. She also volunteered as an advocate for the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, and MRC (Medicare Rights Center) in health care and senior care advocacy. She currently lives in New York State with her husband Micky and their two cats Maggie and Lily.
Connect with Laurie: www.redskypresents.com