my mentors

The people who helped me formulate my life journey to write

MaryBeth VanderMeulen

2021-07-20 2 min read

Someone asked me today in Quora who my mentor is. I found that fascinating because it made me journey back into my past to find out. That trip down memory lane proved to be a wonderful connection to what I do today.

When I was in high school, I went with another classmate called Lynne Johnston. She became well known for her cartoon characters and she created many books using her humor. She was my first inspiration to delve into my artistic abilities and writing interests. Though she may have not been aware of it at the time, I envied her for her abilities.

That put me on a course of night school classes to study illustration, cartooning and animation. I was fascinated to see a lot of young teenagers in the class who were all about drawing hero figures. It was to be a sign of the future as it turned out. What I discovered is that I just needed a little confidence and practice to get the ball rolling.

I moved from Vancouver to a small Caribou town where the editor, Bjorn Borg, took me under his wing and taught me all the journalistic skills needed to make it in the newspaper trade. I started as a news correspondent for my area in town and then went on to create feature stories. This began a long history of writing for freelance in many small town newspapers where I also took photos.

As to my third mentor, Robert Parnell taught me a great deal about structure and writing books. I took many of his courses and became certified so that I could pursue my interest in writing a history book. That became a reality when I wrote, "The Associated History of Salmo & Ymir". It was a labor of love because it took a lot of time and organization.

All of that gave me the courage to try my hand at a different form of writing, e-books. To that end, I combined my love of animals, my need to write stories and my skills for illustration. I decided children 4-8 would be a great target audience because at that age, they can relate to animals and could learn a lot about things we have in common like overcoming challenges and emotional responses to our world.

Just as a final note, along the way I have had a few businesses starting with freelance writing. Those experiences have led me to understand how business works and so I started another blog on blogspot entitled https://entrepreneursandtips.blogspot.com and on Facebook I carried on the theme with https://info for business entrepreneurs and animal lovers.

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