At age 12, sitting under an elm tree, drinking orange Kool-Aid, Amy Laundrie began writing her first book in pen.
That book was not published, but eight others have been. Laundrie, of Wisconsin Dells, still has the manuscript of that first attempt. The retired fourth-grade teacher said she has always been writing and reading.
She didn’t become a published author until after her daughter Heidi was born in 1990. Her first book was “Whinny of the Wild Horses,” which has recently been reissued and is available on Amazon.
After Heidi’s birth, she said she began to “pop out books,” for children. Now she is the author of seven children’s books and her first book for adults will be published June 1.
That book, “Laugh, Cry, Reflect: Stories from a Joyful Heart,” is a collection of stories, some of which Laundrie first shared with readers of the Wisconsin Dells Events in a column she did for many years. Some are also from her work as a columnist for the Villas County News Reviews.
Laundrie said retired Wisconsin Dells Gisela Hamm encouraged her to compile her favorite columns so she did.
Then last year, she attended the launch of Rose Bingham’s book, “Buy the Little One a Dolly,” at the Kilbourn Library and met Kira Henschel, editor of Bingham’s book. She told Henschel that she had a memoir too, and Henschel said to send the book to her. Laundrie sent the book in December and the book was on its way to publication. Henschel has established a new publishing company, HenschelHaus Publishing, Inc., of Milwaukee.
The official launch of the new book will be June 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Kilbourn Public Library, 620 Elm St., Wisconsin Dells. Laundrie will have copies of the book at the launch party. It is also available from the publisher at henschelhausbooks.com or on Amazon.
One reviewer compared Laundrie’s book to “Chicken for the Soul,” which Laundries said was the biggest comment she could receive, and she was honored that the reviewer was touched. She added that maybe she could do a sequel. “I have lots more stories.”
Among the stories in the book are ones about Laundrie’s ducks, Huey, Louie and Duey – that were raised as a project for the fourth-graders in her Lake Delton class. She is still raising ducks –another clutch is about to hatch. They will be at the signing on June 16.
Another story in the book is Human Fathers Mirror Nature,” which was published in the Vilas County News Review. Her father had the column framed and left this message on it, “This framed article is to be placed on my casket. This is the best gift that I have ever received.”
Another more humorous story came from her young daughter asking her for a home pregnancy test. The reason for the test is not what anyone would suspect.
Those are some of the stories that illustrate how Laundrie draws from real life to entertain, touch hearts and make people laugh.
The book is a memoir, she said, and Laundrie suggests others should write memoirs. “Memoir have a bad connotation. You don’t have to be at death’s door to write one,” she said. Write down what happens through life, she said.
Laundrie has plenty of material since from the time her children were little she has been keeping spiral notebooks where she jots down ideas and experiences. Her two daughters are now mothers themselves, and now she has six grandchildren. She also has 30 years of teaching mostly at Lake Delton to draw upon also.
The book is dedicated to Mrs. Hamm and to one of Laundrie’s “writing buddies.” She belongs to several writing or writing critiquing groups. One of the groups is in Madison, one meets in Portage, one is online, and she has a group of four writing buddies in the Dells area who meet every two weeks.
In addition to the adult book and a round of appearances to promote it, Laundrie is also starting work on a new five-book children’s series about a ‘naughty miniature pony” that is aimed for second graders. She has the first book in the series “roughed out.”