The Lopez Island Library celebrates the release of local author Gretchen K. Wing’s latest Young Adult novel Altitude with a book launch on Saturday, December 2nd at 4pm in the community room. This is the third and final book in her popular Flying Burgowski series. When she is not writing from her home on the south end of Lopez Island, Gretchen can be found baking at Holly B’s Bakery and performing as a singer/songwriter. Gretchen is a former high school English and history teacher. The Lopez Island Library caught up with Gretchen to ask her a few questions about her writing process.
LIL: Where did you get your idea for the Flying Burgowski series?
GW: The character of Jocelyn Burgowski, a girl who can fly, simply came to me about a dozen years ago, name and all. I had not planned to write a Young Adult novel–let alone a series–but since my main character was clearly a teen, well…okay then! I’ve long been intrigued with the idea of people with special powers living otherwise normal lives, lives in which their special powers might be as much a curse as a blessing. Even deeper than that, since I was a little girl I’ve longed to fly.
LIL: What is your writing process like?
GW: I’m a morning writer. When I wrote the first book I was still teaching public high school in Tacoma, and I had to leave for work at 6:30. That meant writing very early, like five, which I hated, because I’d just be getting going when it was time to stop. I was thrilled to give that schedule up when we moved to Lopez, and that is also the major reason I did not keep on teaching here. I wanted to honor my writing and give it the time it most wanted, which turns out to be a chunk from around seven or eight to noon. My Muse takes an afternoon nap, so I’m not much good then.
LIL: What do you love about writing Young Adult novels?
GW: What I love about writing Young Adult novels is staying connected with the mind of a teenager. I miss interacting with my students more than anything else about teaching, and my own kids have long since quit being teenagers. Teens are more vibrant and dynamic than your average human. [They’re] also more dramatic and lots of fun for a writer; less so, sometimes, for the teens themselves.
The Lopez Island Library supports local authors. Stay tuned for the library’s 2018 Lopez Writes program, a series of free workshops and events designed to connect and engage local writers at all stages of the writing, editing, and publishing process.