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Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome, Sandra Markle!

Sandra Markle joined my wonderful SCBWI Critique group when she returned to the U.S. from New Zealand. What a coup for our group! She's added life and fun and her own brand of smart editing.

And now I get to introduce her to all my blog-reading friends.

She's just taken the daring step of taking her work into her own capable hands, so to speak.

But I'll let SANDRA MARKLE tell you all about this journey.

You can read a little more about this new e-book venture HERE.

But first, let's pour a glass of sweet tea (Sandra and I both lived in the South, after all), and meet this prolific writer.

Augusta:    For those who don't know your books, tell us a little about them. How many have you written? Do you have favorites?

Sandra: I’ve written around 200 books but that’s over about thirty years. Many were hands-on activity books while others share the real life adventures of people and animals around the world.

My answer to any question about a favorite book is usually “My current book.” 
The truth is the one that will forever stand out in my heart is PENGUINS: GROWING UP WILD. I took all of the photos in this book and wrote it as a result of my two summers in Antarctica with the National Science Foundation’s Artists and Writers Program. During those trips, I camped out with 60,000+ Adelie Penguins as they hatched and raised their chicks. Experiencing the earth’s wildest remaining frontier and wildlife up close was life-changing.

Plus, I met my husband at McMurdo Station when I stayed to experience Antarctica’s nine-month long winter. 

Augusta: What an adventurer you are! You have so much to write about. Can you tell us what  marks a Sandra Markle book as something you’re proud to publish and read? 

Sandra: My goal is to make a “Sandra Markle” book so much fun to read that the learning experience I slip into each one just happens naturally--what I call stealth learning. And I strive to make each of my storytelling books perfect for reading aloud to children. I love to paint stories with words.

Augusta:  When you’re not writing, where will we find you?
Sandra: I love sketching and painting so you could find me working on those hobbies.

But I’m also a story-collector. I am always tracking down people, especially researchers and scientists to learn about their work firsthand. Thanks to satellites, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to talk on the phone to a scientist who was in a jungle studying army ants, another in a remote part of Panama rescuing golden frogs, yet another who was in the Amazon observing pink river dolphins and lots more. I also eagerly go wherever I can to discover and learn from the experts so I was on board an icebreaker for 30 days and watched over a surgeon’s shoulder as he performed a heart valve replacement. I’ve watched moon rocks being analyzed and tiles being replaced on the space shuttle and lots, lots more. To paraphrase that old saying, “So many things to investigate, so little time.” So it’s hard to say where you’ll find me but you can count on it being on the trail of a story I’m hot to learn more about.

Augusta: You certainly are not an armchair traveler! What’s next for your writing world?
Sandra: Next, I’m excited to be bringing some of my Out-Of-Print books back to life, starting with PENGUINS: GROWING UP WILD. And thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing I’m able to enrich these books with popups containing info about my experiences researching and writing the books. I’m also able to include activities for young readers—ones to help them look for content, think about POV, and launch into their own original writing. But, most of all, my goal is to have the popups make reading my books even more interactive fun.

Augusta: What a gift you've given your readers! Do you have a favorite thing about writing?

Sandra: I love that writing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle where I first get to create all the pieces and then put them together.  I’m a very visual person so as I work on an idea there’s a point where I “see” the book. Then I work to bring that vision to life. And, when the book is completely done, it is an absolutely GREAT feeling.

Augusta: One last question. You seem to know and love animals- of all kinds! Here's one I'll bet your young fans would like to know: Do you have a pet?

Sandra: I certainly do have a pet—couldn’t be without one.
My current pet is a Maine Coon cat named Beau.

He accepts me unconditionally and reminds me—usually by climbing onto my laptop—that there is more to life than writing, like petting the cat.

Augusta: That's the truth! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your books with us. 

I know everybody will want to download PENGUINS: GROWING UP WILD. 

Here's the link:

Find out even more about Sandra, her school visits and Skype chats, by visiting her here:


Caroline Starr Rose said...

What an exciting story! Here's to much success.

Rosi said...

Wow. That's quite a story. Penguins Growing Up Wild looks fun. Thanks for the post. By the way, Augusta, I'm reading Destiny right now. Love it!

Augusta Scattergood said...

Thanks, Rosi. So much.
And thanks to both of you for stopping by to meet Sandra. Cheers to reading adventures!