Interview with Laura K. Zimmermann

It’s time for another #ChatWithThePBLady 🥳🎉 Today’s interview is with Laura K. Zimmermann. Read on to find out more about the beautiful book MUSHROOM RAIN.

📚Who inspires you? 

People who spin tales that ignite curiosity.

📚What’s your favorite movie or tv quote?

“Inconceivable! … You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” The Princess Bride

📚What are your favorite hot dog toppings?

Mustard

📚What something you would love to learn more about?

If it is something I want to learn about, I do. I’ve spent a lot of my life down research rabbit holes looking for answers. If I can’t find them there, I branch out. For children’s literature that may mean reaching out to experts, in my work as a researcher I conduct studies. What topics I look at in both parts of my life change regularly. There is so much to learn!

📚Let’s talk about MUSHROOM RAIN. What makes this book such a fantastic non fiction read?

I have to give mushrooms the credit for that. They are bizarre, mysterious and there is so much about them we still don’t know. You don’t have to like eating mushrooms to get caught up in their wonder.

📚The language in this book is beautiful. Was it difficult to combine beautiful lyrical language with such interesting information? What was your writing process like?

Thank you. I wanted the feel of the book to reflect the mystery of a hidden world that reaches out beneath our feet and the bizarre “blooms” that appear suddenly and soon vanish. Lyrical language helped me create that.

My writing process for all of my work involves a lot of revision. Writing was never my strength growing up and I still find it a challenge sometimes to express myself on the page. Mushroom Rain went through many drafts. Creating the right feel and flow with so few words is always a challenge. Having a wonderful agent and critique partners to tell me what is working and what is not has been, and continues to be, an invaluable part of the process.

📚This book is packed with information. What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve learned while writing this book?

Not only do mushroom mycelia help plants communicate, some fungal mycelia may even be able to learn and remember.

📚The back matter in this book is wonderful. What advice do you have for writers who want to add backmatter to their own nonfiction book?

Back matter is where my research side shines through. I love it. When I write a sparse story, I use backmatter to further explain things and fill in the blanks. Fun facts that don’t fit into the story, sometimes find their way there too. It is easier to “kill your [factual] darlings” when you can find another home for them. For people who are new to writing back matter, start by thinking about what information will help support your readers’ understanding. Then consider what else your readers may want to know and what will spark them to discover more on their own.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Laura K. Zimmermann”

  1. Gah! I loved this interview and the answer where you said mushrooms get all the credit was my favorite (and yes, I changed my favorite. At first it was the Princess Bride quote, but your response to the other question made me smile even more, Laura.) Thanks for this great interview, Jenny and Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

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