Most people know Eastman as the visionary who transformed photography from an expensive hobby of a few devotees into a relatively inexpensive and immensely popular pastime. Pflueger's biography digs deeper and introduces us to a multi-faceted Renaissance man.
In the same spirit, I asked Lynda to tell us a bit about herself and her project. A long-time member of SCBWI, I got to know Lynda better when she and I enrolled in a drawing class at UCSD Extension.
MW: What made you want to write for children?
LP: I started writing for children when my daughter was growing up. It was hard to find good biographies for her to read. That is when I started researching people to write about. I sent a short biography of Thomas Nast, the political cartoonist, to Highlights Magazine. The article was rejected but the editor wrote me a personal note and encouraged me to continue writing. then, I joined SCBWI and found my tribe.
MW: What inspired you to write about George Eastman?
LP: I was given a Kodak camera when I was a teenager. I never thought about who invented it. All I knew was that I liked taking snapshots. Many years later, I visited by family in Rochester, New York and toured the George Eastman House. From the docent I learned that George Eastman invented the word "Kodak" and it became his company's trademark. Then I went upstairs and viewed a display of Brownie cameras. The display mentioned a big camera give away that George Eastman sponsored. I remembered my grandmother telling me she had been given a Brownie camera, from her local camera shop, when she was twelve years old. I was hooked.
MW: Are you an avid photographer or do you have a special interest in photography?
LP: I like taking snapshots of my family and recording my travels with photographs. But, I am really an amateur photographer.
MW: How does one make a non-fiction topic exciting and engaging for young readers?
LP: I pretend that I have a 10 year old sitting beside me while I am researching a book. I try to find information that piques their interest or would make them want to know more. And, of course, I am always asking my favorite question and theirs, "Why?"
MW: What are some of your favorite biographies?
LP: My three favorite biographies are: "We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin" by Larry Dane Brimner, "Thomas Jefferson: Man on the Mountain" by Natalie S. Bober, and "Franklin and Eleanor" by Cheryl Harness.
MW: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
LP: Read, Read, Read! Join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and find your local chapter. If there isn't one, start one.
MW: What can we expect next from you?
LP: I am researching a book about Lady Bird Johnson's whistle stop tour of the South in 1963. Plus, I am interested in writing about her husband. I think history has overlooked the importance of his presidency concerning civil rights.
MW: Thank you, Lynda.
Lynda will be celebrating the release of her book, George Eastman: Bringing Photography to the People, tonight, September 29, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Hera Hub, 5205 Avenida Encinas, Suite A, Carlsbad, CA, 92008.