Melanie Gaines has written a memoir for children about her two grandfathers called MY TWO GRANDFATHERS. The book was brought into print with illustrations by Brandon Huigens. Melanie obviously has here used her personal landscape, and memories…oh, so obvious in the case of memoirs (see my last two blogs). The book serves as a reminder of how compelling our personal stories naturally are and, for writers, the value of simplicity. (As a reminder, I suggest every writer create at least one children’s book.) Reading about the grandfathers Melanie wrote about took me back to the grandfather’s I had known (and in the case of Daddy Ford, I have written about). The book stimulated my memory, for which I’m thankful.
Melaine has also published a novel called CANYON LAKE. (Canyon Lake is located off the road to Tortilla Flats in central Arizona.) Again the author uses her personal landscape but here to write a fictional piece, fiction about something she knows. (And how satisfying that can be, and there in print we can be with her as she relives the personal terror of the near-drowning of her parents.) Her emotional connection with the material and the pivotal moment in the book…”The stranger in our midst disappeared as quickly as he came. Not knowing he had just saved seven lives, for the four of us siblings had nearly become orphans.”…supplied the impetus for the book. This novel is her story; and, when writers create from this wellspring, it is almost always compelling. I’m glad Melanie Gaines decided to go back to Canyon Lake. I think that if I had gone through what she went through there I might’ve tried to avoid it.
Even though Melanie Gaines has lived in the Arizona desert for many years, she has vivid memories of her early childhood spent in the farm hill country of New York State. It’s easy to see that her grandfathers meant a lot to her. Melaine suggests that if you would like to share a story about your grandfathers with her, contact her at email@example.com. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts in Education from Northern Arizona University. She has worked as an elementary school teacher, library/media specialist, and a reading specialist.
Brandon Huigens is still young, but “wants everyone to know that growing up has very little to do with being an adult.” However, “he’s been writing and drawing cute, incredibly expressive comics (examples are throughout the book MY TWO GRANDFATHERS) about his life’s struggles and mundanities.”
Brandon lives in Phoenix, Arizona and has his girlfriend, Amy, and her two eleven-year-old cats in the house. He is named after his great grandpa Noel, “who taught him what the word “lather” means.” What? Brandon says he “hopes he can enjoy grandparenting one day in the far, far future… ” Let me respond: if it’s gunna happen, it’ll happen faster than he thinks. Brandon will probably draw you something if you contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both books were published by Wheatmark. 610 East Delano Street, Suite 104, Tucson, Arizona 85705
Until later, Randy Ford