Van Far Jr./Sr. High School celebrated Missouri Reading Day last Tuesday by having novelists Alice Ann Reese and Marlene Lee visit the district.
The Missouri authors shared their writing experiences with students in separate break-out sessions.
Reese talked about her experience teaching in Canada and in the U.S. She was also a seamstress working on clothes worn in TV commercials, worked in animal science overseas, and eventually became a writer.
“Don’t feel that you have to stick with anything,” she said. “If you want to change majors, then change majors.”
Reese talked briefly about her book “Show Me Famous Missourians.”
She said her book was written featuring biographies of 20 famous Missourians, which includes a story from each person’s childhood.
Her presentation included a childhood story of Edwin Hubble, who is from Marshfield, Mo., J.C. Penney, and some other stories.
Reese also answered some questions from students.
During Lee’s presentation, she focused on the use of descriptive words on a second and third draft. She said to not focus on those in the first draft.
“If you love music, athletics, anything that you love, try to observe intently,” Lee said.
Lee also talked about the setting of a story.
Her presentation included some brief information from her books “The Absent Woman,” “Rebecca’s Road,” and “Limestone Wall.”
Lee’s most recent book is called “No Certain Home.”
Later in the day, Lee held a book signing at the Vandalia Branch Library.
Her latest book is based on a true story of Agnes Smedley, born in Osgood, Mo., who was an extraordinary woman who transcended personal hardship to become an international journalist. She became the only Westerner who lived with the leaders of the Chinese Red Army after their Long March. She earned the love and respect of those who knew her and understood that China would become an important player in the world stage.
Lee is a novelist who published her first novel on her 74th birthday. She won first prize in both the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference Novel Contest and the University of Kansas Poetry Contest.