Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Maple" Author, Lori Nichols - Guest Blogger

Maple - Author & Illustrator Lori Nichols
Guest Blogger: Lori Nichols

I grew up in Pennsylvania and found myself happiest when I was outside. Maple and other stories have all sprouted from my Pennsylvania roots as well as my own relationship with my sister.

So, when my daughters were little (they are teenagers now), my husband and I wanted to find ways to connect them to nature and each other. We planted trees for each girl and camping became our favorite family activity. We found camping brought us closer to each other and to nature.

Photo courtesy of Lori Nichols

We bought an old Airstream when the girls were just starting grade school and made it into a “hard shiny tent with a toilet.” Never underestimate the power of a toilet when camping with three girls.

Photo courtesy of Lori Nichols
Our first trip in the camper was, cough, clear throat, “special” since we were still trying to figure it all out: plumbing, diapers in the woods, flashlights, camp fires, kids, all of it.  It demanded flexibility. After about three trips we became pros and are still camping each year with the girls.

Photo courtesy of Lori Nichols
It’s not hard to connect to nature when you’re so close to the ground. Our daughters each had their own connection to that low-level world. We saw, collected and photographed seeds of ideas in the mountains of North Carolina, beaches of South Carolina and woods of West Virginia. 

Our first North Carolina trip the girls collected pockets full of glittery mica rocks…which then found their way into our washing machine. For weeks we all sparkled. Tadpoles one year at the lake we love to swim, salamanders in the creek behind our camp site, grasshoppers near the 150 year-old gravesite we visit each year, frogs, bears, grasshoppers, deer, all became part of the blueprint of our family and in turn became the blueprint for the Maple and Willow stories.

Photo courtesy of Lori Nichols
Through it all, I’m nearby with a camera or my sketchbook looking for the next story to present itself.

I’m so honored that Maple was chosen as one of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books. I hope her readers find as much joy in reading the book as I did in writing it. 

Publisher Credit:
“Maple” is published by Penguin Random House

Used with Permission

Copyright Notice:

Copyright © 2014 by Lori Nichols. All rights reserved.