Author Biography: Deanna Caswell

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All the writers I know say things like, “I always loved books,” or “I always wanted to write.” But, this girl…

lil d

…wanted to have a farm and raise twelve kids, and be a scientist, and possibly a ballerina.

Since I couldn’t guarantee that anyone would marry me, and I was too clumsy to dance, I settled on scientist. This kind:

dolphins

I did read a lot, I guess, but I was so focused on ocean-loving that I never noticed any tendency toward fiction books or writing.

Wait, I did write a poem in fifth grade. I submitted it to contest and didn’t win. It was dreadful.

And I think I won an essay contest once. Only three of us entered.

Oh, and in high school I was a part of a review/editing team for an 800-page government document explaining radioactive waste contamination clean-up efforts for the Department of Energy…

big book

…but that’s doesn’t really count as writing, does it?

BUT, in the process of that project, a friend and I wrote an informational picture book about the subject.

We did our own illustrations.

I can’t draw.

It was about radioactive waste.

It was …um…not good.

I also wrote a dreadful graduation speech, a few dreadful beginnings to non-fiction books, a host of dreadful research papers, and the personal journals I wrote (infrequently) were all SO embarrassing that they went to the landfill.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Mr. Emert, my senior English teacher, wrote me a letter when I graduated, though I don’t recall receiving it.

letter

I found it in my attic about a two years ago. It means the world to me–fifteen years after the encouragement was intended to take effect, but still, the world. He’s the only voice in my past that talks about my writing.

excerpt

It’s like documentation of that whole “I’ve been a writer my whole life,” thing that everyone else seems to have.

After high school, I went to college. I majored in Marine Biology, then Marine Chemistry, then Chemistry, then Chemistry/Math double major, then Inorganic Chemistry. One semester into my PhD, I realized I’d made a mistake. I hate lab work. Oops.

I thought about trying law, medicine, teaching, or foreign missions. I even interviewed and started the application process for a few of those things, but somehow, I ended up in Marriage and Family Therapy. Random.

Then, in the process of that degree, I got married.

elope

In the last semester of my Masters, I realized that I didn’t like counseling people either. Who was I to dabble in their lives, huh? I loved studying how people tick, but making people tick was ick.

No matter. I gave birth to our first child a couple of months after graduation. Then…I did it two more times.

I stayed home, happily raising fat babies, but I still felt that there was SOMETHING ELSE that I should be doing too. Not instead, mind you, but too. As in as well. As in IN ADDITION TO CHASING THREE PRESCHOOLERS ALL DAY? Mad woman.

I tried out lots of things. Art, volunteer work, tutoring, and other stuff–then one day I tried out writing a children’s books… AND I LOVED IT!!!

Notice I didn’t say, “I tried out writing a children’s book…AND I WAS GOOD AT IT!!!” That takes practice and I’d been in labs swirling flasks and in leathery office chairs saying “How does that make you feel?” for a decade.

I was TERRIBLE. But, no matter how frustrated I got or how many times I quit, I just couldn’t leave it alone. And now I have two books and am in the middle of my first novel. Happy, happy, Deanna.
>(If you want to read about how long it takes to get a kids’ lit career off the ground after you decide to do it, see How to Get Published.)

 

  • 2008: Exciting Writing Presentation at Arlington Middle School (6 sessions)
  • November 11, 2009:  Collierville Burch Library Reading with New Ballet Ensemble
  • November 14, 2009:  Book Launch Brunch and Signing
  • November 23, 2009:  Clinton Elementary School  (Clinton, TN)
  • November 23, 2009:  Dutch Valley Elementary (Clinton, TN)
  • November 24, 2009:  Clinton High School Creative Writing Class (Clinton, TN)
  • November 27, 2009:  Books-A-Million (Oak Ridge, TN)
  • December 3, 2009:  WREG-TV morning show, Live at the Peabody
  • December 3, 2009:  Reading with Ballet Memphis at Davis-Kidd Booksellers
  • December 5-6, 2009:  Ballet Memphis Nutcracker Tea, Peabody Hotel
  • December 7 & 11, 2009:  Collierville Elementary School
  • December 21, 2009:  Davis-Kidd Booksellers (Nashville, TN)
  • December 11, 12, 13, 2009:  All Ballet Memphis Nutcracker Performances



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee Buchschacher April 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Deanna,

Read your article on keeping grass high to avoid weeds. So, my question is. What is the desired height? 4″ 6″?

Ivory Soap April 4, 2012 at 6:36 am

Depends on the type of grass you have. Bermuda is 2 inches-2.5.

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