Sue Ellen, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My passion is teaching people of all ages to overcome their problems in reading, spelling, and writing. I've been teaching for 39 years. My life changed dramatically on many levels when I took the backpacking trip to Italy that I write about in Two Nuts in Italy. Before Italy I was very fear based, overly cautious, and controlling. Since my Italian experience, my life has opened, and I'm experiencing multisensory living.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a teacher. Ironically, I love being outdoors and teaching takes me inside, but I am currently working on a project that will take my teaching outdoors.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My writing is sideline bliss. I have to find time to sit and lose myself on the page.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are not surprised at anything I do. I've always kept journals and created writing exercises for them and me.
Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones has had the greatest influence on my writing and my attitude toward writing. My favorite books of all time are Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird. I am currently reading Look Homeward, Angels by Thomas Wolfe.
What inspired the idea for 'Two Nuts In Italy'?
My friends all thought I was nuts to attempt such a trip at my age. (I was 56 at the time.)Three months is a long time to do something foreign to your nature. Whenever I could get to a computer while in Italy, I sent emails describing my adventures. When I got home, everyone told me how much they enjoyed the emails and encouraged me to write a book. I had no intensions of writing a book and was very busy at the time caring for my elderly mother. A year passed and people were still telling me to write a book about my adventures in Italy. I began the book and the experience seized me. Getting to relive each moment of that life-changing experience kept me writing Two Nuts in Italy.
How and when did you first start marketing your book?
A year ago when Two Nuts in Italy came out, I had no idea how to market. I am still learning, but with the help and suggestions of supporters, this past year has brought me ten book signings in three states, numerous radio and TV interviews, newspaper articles, and twenty speaking engagements.
What can we expect from you next?
As I said, my life has opened, and I
now see many opportunities where before my eyes were clouded with my
fears. I have begun the next book which will be a sequel to Two Nuts in Italy, for I went back and spent three
winter months in Tuscany. I want to open a leadership camp for children ages
9-16 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, using horses and Parelli Natural Horsemanship
to teach children communication and leadership. For my 60th birthday I bought a
horse and am learning about these magnificent teachers through Parelli Natural
I would love to host a radio show based on getting outside your comfort zone. It's amazing what happens when one steps outside his comfort zone and stays just a while.
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