My Name Is

My Name Is: Alice Longaker

Author of ‘Wren’

Posted 10/3/17

About me

I moved into my little Lakewood home when I was three days old. I attended South Alameda Elementary (now Deane Elementary), Alameda Jr. High (now Gold Crown Foundation), and Alameda High School (now Alameda International Jr/Sr. …

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My Name Is

My Name Is: Alice Longaker

Author of ‘Wren’

Posted

About me

I moved into my little Lakewood home when I was three days old. I attended South Alameda Elementary (now Deane Elementary), Alameda Jr. High (now Gold Crown Foundation), and Alameda High School (now Alameda International Jr/Sr. High).

Since I am a late bloomer, I did not graduate from college until I was in my 30s from Rockmont College (now Colorado Christian University). I worked in the library field for more than 20 years, including at the Bureau of Reclamation at the Denver Federal Center and Jefferson County Public Libraries.

My sons lived in the same house I grew up in and attended the same schools, and even had some of the same teachers. When they were out of high school, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and I moved to Greeley. Unable to work full-time, I went back to school and started a new career — I began teaching First Year English, Research, Literature, and Intensive English to students at the University of Northern Colorado. I returned to Lakewood for several years, teaching at Red Rocks Community College and my alma mater, CCU.

I packed up and returned to Greeley and returned to teaching at UNC and taught Intensive English to international students. I retired reluctantly, which started career number 3 — writing.

Getting into writing

I loved reading as a child, and I still love it. Nothing makes me happier than a stack of books waiting for me. Through that, I came to enjoy writing.

I chose careers that surrounded me with books and wrote late into the night. I read “Sonnets of the Portuguese” to put my sons to sleep and scribbled poems on any loose piece of paper. I have written plays, and an adaptation of Ernest Hemmingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” which has been in production. I tried my hand at blogging, have written song lyrics, essays, short stories, and poems — some published online and in print.

Writing ‘Wren’

Wren is my debut novel, and two contrasting situations were most responsible for it. As a child, I spent summers in the Arkansas Ozarks visiting my grandparents, and the region is dear to me. Long after their deaths, I delighted in residencies at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The setting of Wren in the Ozarks is important to the book.

In 2004, I hit a less idyllic place in my life — I was trying to recover from chemotherapy after breast cancer and surgery. I had pneumonia, I fell and broke my arm, and more. I packed up belongings and headed to recuperate at a friend’s home. In spite of my gracious hosts, I was weak, lonely, and felt separated from all that was Alice. It was then that I began the story of a young girl on her own journey to recovery.

Wren is an ordinary girl. She does not save the world. She does not have superpowers. Wren does not know everything. Life does not go according to her plans. In other words, Wren is like most of us.

Meeting my readers

At book events, readers think they are coming to see an author, but we are coming to meet readers. It is not for applause or compliments but to see how words have connected us. Readers complete the act of writing. I love questions from the audience — about the book, about my life, and about writing. As an introvert with fragile energies, these events can be demanding, but I receive so much from the people I meet.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is ..., contact Clarke Reader at creader@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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