So Many Stories - from The Messenger
Children's book author Lisa Owens has a pretty impressive catalog of titles to her credit.
She shared that number with the students at Butler Elementary School Wednesday during a daylong author's visit to teach the them about writing, being an author and what it's like to work in a home office with a greyhound named Ewen.
"I've written 103 books," she said. "How do you think I did that, besides by being old?"
"By not giving up," she said.
Owens, who resides in Seattle, Washington, has deep Iowa roots - she grew up in Ottumwa.
She enjoys visiting with students.
"I get to see the readers of my books," she said. "I get to talk to them about what's on their minds. It helps to have kids in mind while I'm working."
They're an inspiration, too.
"I got ideas from a couple of the kids today," she said. "One asked why I haven't written a book about my dog. It helps me get in touch and know what they want me to write about. Someone today wanted me to write about Godzilla and Star Wars. I had to tell them other people already do that."
During her presentation, she asked the students how many of them like to write. Almost everyone's hand went up.
She has a helper in her home that gives her inspiration - her greyhound, Ewen.
"He works for me for food," she joked.
Being a greyhound, he's also fond of chasing rabbits.
"I won't let him do that, but he does like reading books with bunnies," she said while showing a photo of Ewen looking over a book at home. "I do have to turn the pages for him though."
She shared her experience of writing in her journal on a daily basis, something some of the students also enjoy.
"I write in my journal all I learn in school," one student said. "I also write all I learn at home."
Another shared Owens' love of furry pets.
"I write about my cat," the student said.
"I write in my journals every day," Owens said. "I usually write three pages in a notebook. It helps get me ready to get to work."
Being a children's author isn't solo work.
"I have a lot of partners," she said of her illustrators, editors, publisher and even fact checkers.
She didn't forget one, perhaps the most critical.
"My dog," she said, smiling.
Owens writes for a wide range of age groups. She has a series of books called "Let's be Social" geared towards kindergarten to second grade. She's written nonfiction and biographical books for third- and fourth-graders, including "Spirit of the Wild West" and "Abe Lincoln: A Great American Life." For more advanced readers, some of her titles include "World War II Code Breakers" and "Women Pilots of World War II."
Her visit to Fort Dodge has been much more than visiting with students, too. She's taken some extra time in the area to visit with family and her parents, Larry and Sharon Owens, who reside at Friendship Haven.
"It's absolutely wonderful," she said. "I get to spend every evening with my parents."
Her visit is sponsored by the Fort Dodge High School Alumni Association, which also purchased copies of some of her books for school libraries.