Norma Salway wrote an email and sent it via my website asking if the book that she wanted to put together was something that would interest Just Write Books. She described her book as a memory book of summer camp life as experienced by a child that didn't leave the area when the summer ended.
I said give me a call.
When we talked we both were excited and I asked Norma to bring her text and pictures and talk about what she wanted to do.
Norma had an amazing number of original old photos depicting camp life around Songo Pond. Pictures that made walking in the woods, playing on the rope swings and water slides very real to this person from away. Once we started putting the book together, Norma mentioned that she likes to make potato prints. She showed me some and we decided that they should be a part of The Spirit of Songo.
I learned so much about Norma as we worked on her first book and then when she came to me with her second I was easily able to urge her to try her hand at the watercolor illustrations she wanted for Touched by a Hummingbird.
Some people are easier to work with than others. Norma is a bright light that only gets brighter as she learns that she can do even more than she ever dreamed.
Her ambition to write books was clear—her ability to illustrate with her own work, vintage photos or with the drawings of students was a part of her self-discovery. I am happy to be a part of her metamorphosis from a retired teacher to an active author and presenter.
JWB: When did you start writing?
Salway: Throughout my years of teaching, I always wrote songs, chants, and poems to enrich our curriculum. However, during my late husband’s long battle with cancer, I started writing poems as a peaceful outlet. I found writing to be very therapeutic, and I never stop.
JWB: What are some of the themes you return to regularly in your writing?
Salway: The whispers and soothing childhood memories surrounding nature and the impact of natural creations upon our lives seem to permeate my writings. From the poems in The Spirit of Songo, the inspiration and message in Touched by a Hummingbird, to the classroom stories in I’m Just a Kid, You Know, I find myself wanting to share the influences of nature with readers.
JWB: What is one event that has shaped your writing?
Salway: Growing up, I had a mom who read aloud to us every night so I developed an enjoyment of reading from an early age. She also had a passion for the rhythm of rich language and surrounded us with word games and quotations. She constantly shared poems with us that her dad had taught her while milking cows in the barn.
JWB: What are your three favorite books to reread?
Salway: That’s a tough question as I have so many favorites! Having taught primary grades for all those years, I had certain books, I had to read to my students year after year. One of my favorites is Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch and Owl at Home, by Arnold Lobell. My favorite adult book is a 1923 copy of The Passing Throng, by Edgar A. Guest.
JWB: Any advice for young writers?
Salway: Read, read, read. Write, write, write. The more you read, from a variety of genres, the better you’ll write. The more you write, the better you’ll read.
JWB: What are you currently working on?
Salway: I’m currently working on a children’s book but a couple more book ideas are swirling in my head. I never stop writing really. I enjoy people watching and will often jot down observations and descriptions while out and about. I keep a journal handy in my car.
Norma Kimball Salway, parent, grandparent, graduate of the University of Southern Maine, retired from teaching in 2009. During her 34 years in education, she taught four- to seven- year-old students. Her hobbies include writing, kayaking, gardening, antiquing, and crafting. Since retirement, Salway has written three books. Her current book is I'm Just a Kid, You Know! She tells stories about her decades in education and her love of teaching in the primary school. The first, The Spirit of Songo, is a collection of original poems and vintage photos about the lake near her Albany home. The second, Touched by a Hummingbird, written and illustrated by Salway, tells the true story of rescuing a hummingbird prior to her friend's funeral. This book comforts those grieving a loss. Salway continues to write, living in Portland, Maine, with her Maine Coon cat, Gusty.
Learn more at normaksalway.com
Learn more at normaksalway.com
Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, a publishing business with the tag line: Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk project--building a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: firstname.lastname@example.org