Creative Non-Ficion / Memoir / Travel
Date Published: Paperback out this March / eBook November 2014
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Nancy McCabe, who grew up in Kansas just a few hours from the Ingalls family’s home in Little House on the Prairie, always felt a deep connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series. McCabe read Little House on the Prairie during her childhood and visited Wilder sites around the Midwest with her aunt when she was thirteen. But then she didn’t read the series again until she decided to revisit in adulthood the books that had so influenced her childhood. It was this decision that ultimately sparked her desire to visit the places that inspired many of her childhood favorites, taking her on a journey that included stops in the Missouri of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Minnesota of Maud Hart Lovelace, the Massachusetts of Louisa May Alcott, and even the Canada of Lucy Maud Montgomery.
From Little Houses to Little Women reveals McCabe’s powerful connection to the characters and authors who inspired many generations of readers. Traveling with McCabe as she rediscovers the books that shaped her and ultimately helped her to forge her own path, readers will enjoy revisiting their own childhood favorites as well.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The most challenging thing is making the time to write every day, since I have a full-time teaching job, a part-time teaching job, and am a single parent. But writing and reading are essential to my sanity, so I make them a priority, too.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I listen to a lot of classic rock and folk, although lately I’ve been mostly listening to Japanese language lessons in preparation for a trip to Japan!
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have friends who I almost always send work to first, once it’s fairly polished, because I know they’ll say positive things and keep me going. After more revision, I go on to the next layer, which is friends who are writers who I know will give me more extensive feedback so that I can make my work better.
What book are you reading now?
I tend to read five books at a time, but right now those include the Maud Hart Lovelace Betsy series, which I wrote about in my book. I never met anyone else who knew about these books when I was a child, but now there’s a whole e-mail community of fans, and we are in the process of a group read of all the books. I love being able to discuss them with others, finally!
How did you start your writing career?
I started writing when I was seven or eight, and just kept going. After college, I went on for an MFA in creative writing, and then eventually a PhD so that I could teach while also writing.
I’m superstitious about talking too much about what I’m working on, but those include essays, a memoir, an adult novel, and a YA novel. I work on them in bits and pieces and never know which project in progress is going to come to fruition first, but they all eventually do.
About the Author
Nancy McCabe is the author of four memoirs about travel, books, parenting, and adoption as well as the novel Following Disasters. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Prairie Schooner, Fourth Genre, and many other magazines and anthologies, including In Fact Books’ Oh Baby! True Stories about Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love and McPherson and Company’s Every Father’s Daughter: Twenty-Four Women Writers Remember their Fathers. Her work has received a Pushcart and been recognized on Notable lists in Best American anthologies six times.