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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Skinny Dip with Melanie Heuiser Hill

9_30RamonaWhat’s the first book you remember reading?

Ramona the Pest. My elementary school was visited by RIF (Reading is Fundamental) twice a year—the best days of the year. You had to be in second grade to peruse the tables of novels that were set up in the entry-way to our school. It was enormously exciting—so many to choose from! I picked that slim Ramona volume from all the other books piled high on the table and I read it “hidden” in my lap during math class that afternoon. I can’t imagine I fooled my teacher, Mrs. Perkins, but she had commended me on my choice earlier, so perhaps she didn’t mind…even at the expense of math.

What do you wish you could tell your 10-year old self?

That someday I would actually love being tall. I was 5’10” at the age of ten and it was rough. I’m six feet tall now and really enjoy being tall—but it took a long time to get here. I suppose my 10-year old self would have just rolled her eyes—what an adultish thing to say to a kid! But it’s true and I wish I could’ve believed it then.

What 3 children’s book authors or illustrators or editors would you like to invite to dinner?  

Only three?! Well, I’d have to have a series of dinners, I guess. Here are two in that series: If I could invite three who are no longer living, I’d invite L.M. Montgomery, Arthur Ransome, and E. L. Konigsburg. If I had to limit myself to the living (reasonable, I suppose) I’d invite Virginia Euwer Wolff, Kevin Henkes, and Deborah Wiles. Now to plan my additional dinners….

Where’s your favorite place to read?

This week it’s my new bright red Adirondack chair in the garden. SO comfortable, big wide arms for a glass of iced tea and a pile of books, and beauty all around. It is bliss.

9_30SwallowsWhat book do you tell everyone to read?

For the last ten years I tell everyone about Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series—mostly because American readers have almost never read it and it has been A Formative Series for my kids. It’s a series of tremendous adventures with quotidian details—somehow a magic combination. Several of the books feature the Walker kids—four dear siblings who are afforded a tremendous amount of freedom on their summer holidays and know just how to use it. In other books in the series there are frightful pirates and ne’er-do-wells. We have read them almost exclusively on vacations—a big novel each trip, me growing hoarse reading by lantern in the tent, on picnic blankets, and in hotel rooms. The audiobooks done by Gabriel Woolf are tremendous and hours and hours of time in the car have been filled with these books.

6 Responses to Skinny Dip with Melanie Heuiser Hill

  1. Terri Evans October 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    Congratulations, Melanie, on the upcoming publication of your new book! Awesome!

    • Melanie October 6, 2015 at 7:19 am #

      THANK YOU, Terri!

  2. Beth Braun October 3, 2015 at 7:14 am #

    Love it, Melanie! And since I am looking for a new audiobook at this very moment, I’m going to find Swallows and Amazons… (And Terri, find me on FB!!)

    • Melanie October 6, 2015 at 7:21 am #

      Beth–the Gabriel Woolf recordings are superb. Hard to get a hold of. I had to contact him–he will deal with “nice Americans” across the pond. 😉

  3. David LaRochelle October 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    I’ve added Swallows and Amazons to my “to read” list. I had a chance to meet E. L. Konigsburg at the first LA SCBWI conference I ever attended; what a brilliant woman and very gracious to me, a gushing fan. And I agree, being tall IS nice.

    • Melanie October 6, 2015 at 7:23 am #

      David–I think you’ll love Swallows and Amazons. I supposed it’s not for everyone, but I suspect you’ll enjoy them immensely. And you met E. L. Konigsburg!!! What a thrill! We must discuss this sometime…perhaps at a Tall Authors meeting? 😉

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