Spending time out in the wilderness with animals has been inspiring for S. J. Brown, who combines her love of writing and photography to create books that educate and entertain. I got the chance to ask her a little bit about herself and her work.
Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
No, I don’t remember. I am sure it was in high school that is when a teacher encouraged me to explore the possibly of pursuing a career as a writer. My first published piece took 10 minutes to write. It was about clipping coupons.
What was one of your most memorable encounters when photographing wildlife?
There are many; my most memorable encounters are the ones that last a little longer and get me just a little closer to my subject.
Some, like the alligator in Florida and the Puffins on their own little island, I covered in my book Close Ups & Close Encounters. Others, like the coyote in South Dakota and the bear in North Carolina, I have documented on film and may include in another book in the future.
With all of the work you do with nature (tagging butterflies, planting trees, recycling, growing your own veggies, etc.) it’s clear that you care about the environment. What do you feel is one of the most important things people can do to help the Earth?
Educate themselves. There are so many things each of us can do: recycling, planting, conserving energy, buying local. The list goes on and on. It’s really not difficult to find ways to lesson our impact on the natural world. The important thing is that each of us do something. Our children and grandchildren will be inheriting the earth.
Do you consider yourself more of a writer or more of a photographer?
It depends on what day it is. Some days I spend the entire day in the field with the critters. Some days I never leave my office because I am busy working on a manuscript, an article, or blog. Photography gives me a chance to get close to wild critters. Writing allows me the opportunity to share those experiences and my love of the natural world.
Your website mentions that you prefer to use film instead of digital imagery. How do you feel the technological advances in photography have affected the art form?
Technology makes me wonder when I am looking at an image. Did the photographer actually get that shot or was it enhanced and created on the computer? A digital image is called a print; a photograph is captured on film. To me there is a difference between a photograph and a print, and I prefer photographs. The best way I can explain the difference is if you have two painters, and one uses oils and the other watercolors. It is a preference. Each is a different medium.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished reading A House Divided Against Itself by Bob O’Conner. I like reading books by authors I have met, regardless of the genre. So I have read sci-fi, horror, memoirs, westerns, historical, true crime, fiction and non-fiction.
Are there any future books in the works?
Yes. My sister and I are putting the finishing touches on our manuscript Suburban Sisters. I also am playing with the idea of doing another children’s picture book and revisiting a manuscript from the past that hasn’t been published yet.
Each Sunday I share an image on my Facebook page. Those on my email list hear accounts of my recent adventures in the field. They are the first to know when I will be signing books, or releasing a new book. I am part of a blogging group and I share my blog posts on Authors Den.
Susan’s website can be found here, and you can also reach her on LinkedIn.