Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Chasing Ray Interviews Nature Writer Sy Montgomery

There’s more to this world than just humanity. A lot more.

Here’s an interview with nature writer Sy Montgomery in which she talks about photographing animals in a natural state, absorbing local myths and folklore about the animals she studies, and teaching children to love and protect nature.

Sy was kind of enough to invite me to interview her over the phone and in the course of our hour-long conversation we discovered shared passions for books and animals and writing and all manner of other subjects (even, bizarrely, to include discussion of banshees in Ireland of all things). To say chatting with her was delightful would be a gross understatement and I hope someday to meet her in person so we can talk again, for hours and hours and hours. Because the conversation jumped in so many different directions, I decided to split the interview in half so be sure and check back tomorrow for more. And now, here’s author and adventurer (grin) Sy Montgomery!

CM: How did you and Nic Bishop come to propose the Scientist in the Field series?

SM: Nic and I met at a nature writing conference at Boston’s New England Aquarium in the mid 1990s where I was a speaker. Strangely, I was the only woman on a panel and even though I wrote at that time for adults, when a question came up about nonfiction for children everyone turned and looked at me! I came up with an answer and later Nic approached me, explained he was a wildlife photographer specializing in books for children, and asked if I might be interested in working with him. He sent me some of his work and we came up with the idea of developing a series of books on scientists for kids. (CM – Sy has referred to this series elsewhere as “a line of nonfiction adventure books that told, with equal parts photos and text, true stories about passionate people whose love of wild animals leads them to solve scientific mysteries and to dedicate their lives to protecting these animals and their homes.”) Nic approached Houghton Mifflin and we connected with editor Amy Flynn (Kate O’Sullivan is the current editor). The idea was not embraced by everyone at first – some folks at HMCO wanted “fact books” but we really wanted to focus on people working in unique situations who loved animals and wanted to give something back. It’s not just about solving the mystery, but conservation which both Nic and I feel very strongly about.

People are fine but just one species among many and you can’t just focus on humans. So much in this world is strange and real and needs your attention, in fact demands it.

CM: What’s it like working with Nic? You’ve been together on four books now.

SM: Nic handles the creatures he photographs – he actually captures their faces. He doesn’t refrigerate them first to keep them docile. (CM – I had no idea some photographers did this for spiders, etc. I’m totally freaked out now.) I was a snake wrangler for him for the Green Boa which was a lot of fun. What I really like about Nic is that he takes the time to get to know the animals he photographs; he likes to show them “as they really are” and make them as comfortable as possible.

Read the whole article here.

Related Articles:


Chelsea Green Weekly for May 5, 2017

Ever wonder what your favorite Chelsea Green authors do between writing groundbreaking–both literally and figuratively–books? Here are the best links and resources for your weekend reading pleasure. Let’s start with The Alzheimer’s Antidote. The Alzheimer’s Antidote Amy Berger has been making the rounds on the health, wellness, and fitness circuit, explaining the theories behind her revolutionary […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

The 10 Steps that Establish Your Baby’s Microbiome

Research is emerging almost daily on the role of the microbiome in human health. But how do we acquire this mysterious community of microbes and more importantly how do we make sure the good bacteria outnumber the bad? According to a new book by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, Your Baby’s Microbiome, it all starts […] Read More

Prepare! Keep a Grab-n-Go Survival Kit Handy

Are you prepared in the event of a sudden emergency? Blizzard, earthquake, insurrection after the inauguration? We know a lot of people are wondering what’s coming next in the US, as well as the world, given terrorism, politics, and global warming, among other threats. In this excerpt from When Technology Fails, a popular book on […] Read More

Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More
+1
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin