Every writer needs support and guidance as they are learning to hone their craft and navigate the world of publishing. I wrote for several years before I found my current writers group, and with it some wonderful mentors. I never knew what I was missing! One of those mentors is Elaine Marie Alphin.
Elaine joined our writers group not long after I did. She is a passionate children's writer with more than 30 books under her belt, and numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for mystery for her book Counterfeit Son. Elaine took me under her wing. She spent hours discussing my stories with me, offering suggestions and critiques, but always in a strong, positive way. She helped me see my writing in new ways. She worked with me during writers group time, in the car on the way to conferences, over gyros for lunch, and by email and phone chats. She taught me what it means to truly live your writing.
Elaine also taught many other people. She traveled extensively for school visits, SCBWI Conference presentations, and writers retreat collaboration. I brought Elaine into my school where I teach, and she worked with me and the entire student body to write our own mystery. The kids actually wrote a mystery novel, with each grade level providing a chapter. This was an amazing project that inspired the writing of countless kids.
A little over a year ago, Elaine suffered a massive stroke that has left her physically unable to write. She is in the process of rebuilding brain neuron pathways to hopefully bring her passion back.
I imagine there are probably thousands of writers out there who also claim Elaine as their writing mentor, but I claim her special. I'm so grateful for her teaching, her guidance, her knowledge, and her friendship. Here's a shout-out to you, Elaine!
Writing for children is a passion - along with reading kid's books, writing plays for kids, and teaching kids how to write!