Two more of my books came out recently.
They're part of the Learn About Rural Life series from Crabtree Publishing. Writing these books was a work-for-hire project, which means I was contacted to write these books so they weren't my own idea. I worked with Bender Richardson White. The books are designed for classroom use in the primary grades.
Life in a Farming Community focuses on Monticello, WI and Life in a Forestry Community looks at Mackenzie, BC. I really enjoyed learning more about these two communities. They remind me of where I grew up and where I live now: in a small rural community. I grew up surrounded by working apple orchards with a feral asparagus field as my backyard, and my in-laws actually are farming in Ontario's Wellington County today. Forestry hits close to home too since I live in a forested area with the famous Algonquin Provincial Park nearby and the family tree includes a great grandfather who was a lumberman. You can find more detail about them on my website.
Do I think writers have to be personally connected to a topic to write about it? Not necessarily. I think a writer who knows how to ask the right questions and who has strong research skills can write on a lot of things without direct personal experience. But I like to be connected to the topic I'm writing about in some way, either because I have a little personal connection to it or because I just want to learn more about it.
Check out the other two titles in the series: Life in a Mining Community by Natalie Hyde and Life in a Fishing Community by Helene Boudreau.