KATHRYN
CRYAN-HICKS

Author|Artist

 

ABOUT MY WRITING

I've always enjoyed writing. From my early teens, I turned to writing to express myself and to clarify my thinking. I kept diaries, and wrote short stories and poetry. In college, writing research papers was a challenge I loved to take on. After graduating from Emerson College with a degree in Theatre Education, I moved to UMass Amherst and worked as a secretary to Chinua Achebe, celebrated author from Nigeria. Our office was across the hall from visiting professor, Shirley Graham DuBois. This was when I first learned of the achievements of her late husband, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. The seed was planted for my first book. While living in Amherst in the early 1970's, I learned about the Society of Children's Book Writers (& Illustrators was added to the title later). I have been a member of SCBWI since then. 

In 1986, after the birth of my second child, I took a part-time position in the Reference Department of my hometown library until I was laid off due to budget cuts. That lay-off gave me the opportunity to write W.E.B. DuBois: Crusader for Peace. About a year later while finishing up a second book, Pride and Promise: the Harlem Renaissance, the Library called me back to work.

It was a routine reference call that planted the seed for "Derailed," my latest work. The caller asked about a circus train that derailed in West Chelmsford in the early 1900’s. After doing the research to answer her question, I couldn't get the story out of my head. Over the years I found more details from books and old newspaper accounts. I even interviewed an elderly neighbor who shared his first-hand account of seeing performers from the Wild West Show at the train station the morning the train derailed, May 24, 1911. Soon after I retired, I brought all my research together and wrote my current work in progress, "Derailed." 

I look forward to sharing this story.  Today’s young readers will enjoy learning about the "Wild West Shows" that entertained millions across America and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But beyond that, this is the story of a young girl determined to follow her dreams in spite of what society dictated.

 

ABOUT ME

I worked many jobs before I went off to college, like picking strawberries, scooping ice cream and babysitting. While in college I worked for two summers in the last textile mill in Lowell. I graduated from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in Theatre Education and attended grad school at UMass Amherst. Years after my three children were born I enrolled in the Arts  Administration graduate program at Boston University.  

Over the years I wrote for several newspapers and for the healthcare industry. In 1986, I started working in my hometown library as a part time Reference Assistant and retired in 2016, as the Assistant Director of Programming and Community Relations.

Since retiring I have found time, focus and energy to complete several manuscripts that I set aside years ago, and to begin many new writing projects. I have discovered several new interests as well.  

My husband and I have three children and one granddaughter.​ I  remain active at the library through the Chelmsford Friends of the Library.  I am a founding member of Chelmsford's Climate Action Team, a member of the MA chapter of Elders Climate Action, the Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA),  the Chelmsford Art Society and the Arts League of Lowell.  


 

ABOUT MY ART

Once I retired I took up pottery and quickly noticed how pottery informs the process of writing. It teaches me to stop worrying about perfection, to have fun and to become more comfortable with ambiguity. I let the clay tell me what to make of it. When writing I try to step back and let my characters tell me where they're going. Sharon Levy, my first pottery teacher, often said, "We work best when we get out of our own way." She also emphasized that, "Your pottery should tell a story." My painting teacher, Denise Rainis, echoes that same advice. "Your painting should tell a story." I find it interesting that so many writers say, "Your writing should paint a picture for your reader." 


Painting, writing or building with clay are all ways to express ourselves and tell our stories. Our stories help connect us with one another. Stories can be powerful. 

 

MORE ART

Bobbie's Boys
Clark (in process)
Fritzi
Penny
Welcome Flag
tomocu and brown candlesticks

GET IN TOUCH

Contact me with comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you.

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