GETTING STARTED | The Write Stuff: How local writers got their starts

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By Alison Bailin Batz

Pursuing writing is often more of a calling than a career choice.

For these five local authors, that is certainly the case.  You’ll see while each of them already worked in communications, it took a little something extra to get them to put pen to paper on their own actual books.

“I was a sportscaster in college and immediately after. In 1983, I traded in my microphone for a (then) typewriter, transitioning to public relations. And though I am still in that industry, today as president of HMA Public Relations, for the past 35-plus years I’ve also worked as a local high school sports official. About eight years ago while working a football game, it occurred to me that there was a piece of Arizona history that was slipping away: the who and the why high schools, their football stadiums, baseball fields and gymnasiums were named. That led to my first book, Who Is Gym? Then, after seeing retired jerseys hanging at baseball fields, football fields and gymnasiums, I wrote my second book, What’s Your Number?, which captures the storIes behind the retired numbers at high schools across Arizona.”

Scott Hanson, whose books are available now at scotthansonauthor.com

“I have always lived in the world of words. This set the stage for my education (journalism and creative writing) and my career in magazine publishing – I am the editor-in-chief of So Scottsdale and have been an editor at four other magazines. It also led me to create my company, Young Creative, through which I write and edit a variety of different projects. Along the way, I discovered my own passion project: children’s books. What began as a poem for my mom when I was a child has transformed into a book, The Color of Mother, and a book series, Color Everything. These grew out of my desire to spread a message of love, as I believe that is at the heart of what’s missing in our world. Enamored by colors myself, I knew that through the beauty and playfulness of colors, I could empower and inspire children, helping them understand universal qualities such as kindness and compassion, while thanking those who raise them for their selfless love.”

Chelsea Young, whose book is available now at coloreverything.love   

“I was always drawn to writing, but not professionally because the words ‘poor’ and ‘writer’ went hand-in-hand. So I pursued PR and freelance editorial writing on the side, and later I became an advertising account executive. This is where I learned that good writers were well-paid and hard to find. In 2017, I became a full-time freelancer and book ghost writer and this year I decided it was high time I write my own books starting with, Hear God Now: Divine Guidance for Women On-the-Go.”

Lara Piu, whose book is available now at live-to-listen.com

“My mom was diagnosed with ALS when I was 8. I lost her when I was 17, but not before she gave me two special gifts. The first gift was the love of writing. The second gift was acceptance. We were different than other families. But that was OK with her, and that made it OK for me. I began writing professionally in the early 2000s, but when I had my own children, I decided to put pen to paper on my first book, which led to my series. It is called Sassafrass Ranch, and each book explores various animals with perceived differences than other animals at the ranch. But in the end, each one’s differences are ultimately gifts.”

Erin Thorburn, whose books are available now at erinthorburn.com 

“I had no intention of writing a book; I was just writing some stories about different events in my career on Facebook, and people would write and say, ‘Dave you should write a book.’ I have always saved letters from viewers, pictures and internal work memos. I would bring them home and give them to my wife, Bunny. She categorized them by year and saved them for me. On June 19th, 2017 at 8 p.m., I went into the den and started writing Munsey Business. For the next six and a half months, I wrote from 7 a.m. to midnight (or later). The most fun that I have had since retiring are my book signings and meeting the people that watched for all of those years. We’ve had them all over the Valley and have many more planned.”

Dave Munsey, whose book is available now at munseybusiness.com

Words by Alison Bailin Batz.

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