CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW on the Timber Press blog.
Teri to beginning garden writers: “Forgive yourself the spending spree at the nursery or in the bookstore!”
Teri Dunn Chace knows what it takes to be a garden writer. With more than 30 titles under her name and a résumé that reads like a who’s who of garden publications, there isn’t much about gardening she hasn’t tackled as a writer. Even so, she admits the greatest challenge to being a garden writer is that there’s still so much to learn, “…so many techniques and plants I have yet to try.”
The three books she’s published with Timber Press demonstrate her versatility. From a book of answers to the most common mistakes made by gardeners, to a how-to on eradicating invasive plants, to a reflection on flowers, Teri delivers complex topics in her unique, engaging, and playful way. The editors at Amazon were so impressed that they included two of her books in their Best Books of 2013.
We asked Teri about her journey to garden writer and what advice she has for others beginning their own journey. You’ll find her answers after the jump, along with more about her three Timber Press titles, ample proof that Teri Dunn Chace knows what it takes to be a garden writer.
What made you decide to become a garden writer?
All my life, even from earliest childhood (ask my family!) I have been an avid reader and writer. I’ve also been fascinated by plants in nature and in gardens all my life. In college, I worked to integrate these two parts of myself. I ended up majoring in literature and minoring in environmental science; in particular, I remember a paper I wrote on the tension between garden and wilderness in early America. After I graduated, I continued on this path. I worked at gardening magazines and began writing for them as well as for natural-history magazines such as the local Audubon magazine.
What is your greatest challenge as a garden writer?
There’s so much to learn, so many techniques and plants I have yet to try. I’m also a consumer of books in other areas that interest me, cooking for example, and I know I need to trust and learn from an author. So when I write about gardening, I feel responsible to my readers. I do a ton of research, in my yard, in books and online; plus my network of gardening friends, specialists, and experts gets bigger all the time. It’s an ever-expanding universe! Whoever said “the more I know, the more I need to know” nailed it.
For you, what has been the most rewarding part of being a garden writer?
For me, this question and answer are related to the prior question and answer. It is so thrilling to be constantly learning, and to meet and befriend fellow travelers on the same journey.
Do you have any advice for beginning garden writers?
Write a lot, write often. Don’t worry about it being perfect or publishable or the last word on the topic. When you share your experiences, including your doubts and your discoveries, others will come along for the ride. My first garden-writer hero, Washington Post columnist Henry Mitchell, was great this way. Oh, yes, and try anything, be patient—and forgive yourself the spending spree at the nursery or in the bookstore!
by Timber Press on December 13, 2013