by Cheryl Carpinello, originally published at Carpinello’s Writing Pages · March 19, 2013
Today I humbly welcome prolific writer Nancy Bo Flood to Carpinello’s Writing Pages. I say prolific because Nancy is a writer who creates her stories from her life. Her knowledge of different cultures combined with her story telling opens up the world for her readers. Nancy’s stories have earned numerous awards including Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction Title, Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, Junior Library Guild selection, and a host of other awards.
First a bit about Nancy:
Throughout her life Bo Flood has enjoyed reading, writing, and the sharing of stories. Her work has focused primarily on children and young adults, as counselor, teacher, or parent. She has conducted workshops of child abuse, learning disabilities, play therapy, as well as creative writing. Through either work or research, Bo has lived in Malawi, Africa, Hawaii, Japan, the western Pacific, and, most recently, the Navajo Nation Reservation. Legends and folklore are of particular interest to Bo, for they hold the magic and mystery of other people’s–or generation’s–beliefs. When we read, we learn–about ourselves and about someone, somewhere–or sometime–else.
Why did you pick to write books for Children and Young Adults?
I think children’s books are the best – imaginative, creative, and with depth of thought, feelings and information. I enjoy reading them and enjoy trying to write them.
“Story is a powerful way to build compassion and bridge understanding between cultures. Story has the power to heal as well as teach.”
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
When I am not writing I enjoy exploring. Sometimes this means biking, hiking, or walking. I live in the high desert in the Four Corners area with mesas and canyons. But I also love being near, on, or under the ocean, snorkeling, kayaking or diving.
Tell us about No-Name Baby and how the story came to be.
No-Name Baby evolved first from the story of the premature birth of my uncle. He was born two months early early in the 1900’s on a farm in rural Illinois. My grandmother’s Italian mother-in-law massaged the tiny baby with olive oil (the oil of life), wrapped him in soft cotton and put in in a cigar box and into the warming oven! He survived. The other experience that contributed to this story was my work at the State Hospital in Minnesota. I was a newly-graduated psychologist. Many women on the ward had been “committed” when they were young teenagers. They spent the rest of their lives at the State Hospital. Their “crime” was not that they were crazy, but they were pregnant, unwed women, often victims of rape. At that time women had few rights. Being “with child” and “without husband” was not acceptable. Also, I grew up loving the farm life, being with my grandmother to round up the milking cows, playing in the hay barn with cousins, catching wild cats, running in the fields pretending to be wild horses. All those experiences informed No-Name Baby. My love of horses started my interest in Cowboy Up, Ride the Navajo Rodeo.
Here’s a peak at No-Name Baby:
The Great War, like all wars, left wounds that rippled through communities and families, sometimes in unexpected ways. To survive World War I, Sophie’s family did the best they knew, the best they could, even if it meant burying family secrets. And then, life changed.
Sophie remembered last night’s dream and the gray stones-a whole row of them like the ones under the trees. Each stone was etched with letters that she couldn’t quite read.
No-Name Baby is an intimate portrait of a young girl as she discovers the truth about herself and her family.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
My books reflect my adventures and my work — The Pacific Island Legends from my time spent teaching on the Pacific island of Saipan are the basis for my YA novel Warriors in the Crossfire. This tells the story of family’s struggle to survive hiding in caves when Saipan was caught in the WWII crossfire between US and Japan.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
BLUE is my new novel – set on the Navajo Reservation during the time of the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. Two sisters, half-Navajo and half-White, react very differently when the first Native American woman soldier, Lori Piestewa, is killed in battle. I am working with Colorado publisher Fulcrum to create an anthology of biographies of contemporary Native Americans – the best and the latest!
What advice do you have for other authors?
My advice to writers – and to myself – be patient, be STUBBORN, listen to responses to your writing, revise, re-see, re-write. Enjoy the journey. Writing is re-writing.
Other Books by Nancy:
For the Navajo people, the new year begins in October, when summer meets winter. The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons follows the Navajo calendar, and provides poetic descriptions of the many sights, sounds, and activities associated with each month.
In this riveting collection, narrative poems give voice to the individual competitors, lively prose explains rodeo events, and evocative photographs show off the riders and ropers, the horses, bulls, and broncs. It all adds up to an unforgettable close-up view of
Navajo rodeo over the course of one action-packed day.
Where you can find Nancy and her books on the web: