A BIG welcome to Ann Haywood Leal--the author of two MG books, entitled, ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER and the recently released, FINDERS KEEPERS PLACE. I first met Ann at a class in Fairfield. I was immediately drawn to her warm personality, as well as her tremendous writing talent! And let me tell you--She's one darn funny lady, too!
I am grateful that she has taken the time to do a piece for Mentor Mondays. I hope you find it as touching as I did!
Ann Haywood Leal:
As far as mentors are concerned, I could name so many people. To me, a mentor not only passes on some of their wisdom and knowledge, but they also give you something extra that becomes a part of who you are.
The wonderful Patricia Reilly Giff is definitely someone who has done that for me (and for so many others!). Pat is so generous with her time and with her advice for new writers. Whether it's a celebration or just a problem about which I need to kvetch, Pat always has the time to listen. All the way back to when I was figuring out what a query letter was, Pat has always had time and patience for me.
And without a doubt, my mom filled the mentoring role in my life. Books and reading were always so important to her, and she shared them with me in such a way that made me love words, too. No matter how busy she was, she always stopped what she was doing and took the time to read my stories. I loved when she wrote comments in the margins! Sometimes now when I'm writing, I'll imagine what her comments would be. My deepest regret is that she died before she could see my first book on the shelf at the library.
When I had my book party at The Dinosaur's Paw Bookstore, I told Pat Giff how much I wished my mom could see it all. Pat said, "She knows, Ann. She knows."
Thanks so much, Ann! This was so touching and a wonderful addition to Mentor Mondays!