For the chance to win a free e-copy of On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America, please leave a comment on this post with your email address included in the body of the comment. This giveaway will close to entries on July 18 at 3 PM (EST).
Meet Lisa K. Winkler!
Lisa K. Winkler grew up in Killingworth, CT, a small rural town about 30 miles east of New Haven. Her father was a poultry farmer and the entire family – Lisa’s mother, two sisters and brother – worked on the farm. After graduating from Vassar College, Lisa wanted to be a journalist. She worked as a reporter for the Hartford Courant and the Danbury News-Times.
She met her husband, Matthew, while working as a copy editor for Dow Jones. Shortly after they married, they moved to London. Lisa worked as a freelance journalist and by the time they returned to the US, they had two sons, Jacob and Nathan. She then decided to become a teacher and became certified through New Jersey’s Alternate Route program, designed for people from other professions to enter education. While teaching 8th grade Language Arts full-time, she earned her Masters in Urban Education from New Jersey City University and had a third child, Lydia. She continued to write, for professional journals, interviewing authors of literature for children and young adults, and creating study guides for Penguin and others.
Lisa met Miles Dean while serving as a literacy consultant in Newark, NJ. When she heard about his cross-country journey on horseback, she became fascinated with the history she never knew. Her curiosity landed her an assignment to research the black jockeys, culminating in “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian magazine’s website (April 24, 2009).
Her other writing includes two essays published in book anthologies; one in “I’m Going to College – Not You! Surviving the College Search with Your Child.” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), and the other in Wisdom of our Mothers. (Familia Press, 2010.)
She writes for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. Her interviewees include authors, college presidents, scientists, and artists, among others, including Miles Dean in February 2009. Lisa is an avid reader, knitter, yogi, cyclist, and grandmother.
Hello! What’s your name?
Lisa K. Winkler
What do you write and why?
I mostly write feature articles and blog posts. I have one book, On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America, (www.lisakwinkler.com), that was published in February, 2012.
Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
I read non-fiction and fiction. I just like a good story. I like my non-fiction to read like fiction.
What is the title you are promoting right now?
What is it about?
Growing up black in Brooklyn, Miles Dean wanted to be a cowboy. He galloped through the streets on his bicycle, ambushing outlaws on street corners, imitating the heroes he watched in television westerns. More than three decades later, he rode Sankofa, his 12-year-old Arabian stallion, from the African Burial Grounds in lower Manhattan, to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Dean, a Newark, NJ schoolteacher, used an unpaid leave of absence to follow his childhood dream: his 5,000 mile- journey through 12 states took six months.
Conceived to celebrate the contributions of African Americans in US history, this inspirational story brings the reader into large cities and small towns, connecting with the horseback ride and the many people Dean met. Through his daily regimen of riding his horse, the reader witnesses the physical and emotional discipline required to complete such a journey.
I met Dean while working as an educational consultant in Newark and believed Dean’s mission and message would make a compelling story.
What makes this book different from others in your genre? NA
What’s the story behind the story?
As a teacher, I’ve witnessed how young people know little of history. In urban areas, youth learn about slavery and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a few more facts during February, Black History Month. Yet they have little if any connection with these historical figures. When I began my own reading after meeting Miles, I became fascinated with these people whose contributions to the development of the US are largely unknown. Most adults haven’t heard of these people. American history needs to include all races and genders to truly demonstrate who built this nation, their struggles and sacrifices and stories. From my research, I couldn’t find any records of other African Americans who have ridden a horse across the country in modern day, with this purpose in mind. A cross -country journey in itself is a story. I loved the idea of this young boy growing up watching western movies and television shows and dreaming that he too could become a cowboy.
What is your goal as an author?
To be read! To write stories that resonate with others.
Are you working on anything new? Give us a preview of what’s to come!
I’m continuing my blog posts- which are about all sorts of topics, and I have an assignment with JerseyMan magazine. I’m working with a few writers compiling an anthology of essays.
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
I read widely across all genres. I can’t say I have a favorite author or book. So many books were favorites because of the time I read them. I loved all the Daphne du Maurier books growing up, I loved Leon Uri, I love Shakespeare. I think To Kill A Mockingbird is my all time favorite book.
Where can readers find you and your work?
What’s your view on the self-publishing/traditional publishing thing? Ideally, which one would you prefer and why?
I self-published after a long attempt to attract an agent. I think both sides have great value. Self-publishing gives a lot of control over the product but there’s a lot of work in promotion. Yet traditional publishing houses require authors to a lot of their own marketing now. And there’s still a stigma against self-publishing, making it harder for bookstores to carry the book.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Like books and authors, I’ve probably had tons over the years.
Here’s a favorite writing quote that is on my desk: “May you write with joy and courage and may your words dance across the stage.” Bruce Coville
What is the most important advice you have for aspiring authors? Write, write, write and never give up.
Is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish up?
I’ve found great support among writers via Linked In, Facebook, and blogging. I think it’s really important for writers to find a group, even if it’s a “virtual” one.
Awesome, thanks for allowing me to interview you! Thank you, Lisa!
Please take a moment to visit Lisa at the links below!
…Or View the Book Trailer below!