As part of the Killingworth Library’s Author Series, Lisa K. Winkler will speak on Tuesday, March 19 at 7pm in the Meeting Room. Patch chatted with the author of Tangerine Tango and A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America in advance of her return to her hometown to offer this free program.
PATCH: What will your discussion cover?
Winkler: I’ll talk about how both books came to be and read from each. Mostly I hope people will have questions. I’ll talk about how I came to write the books, the writing process, and self-publishing – which I did for both books.
PATCH: Where has your career taken you?
Winkler: I’ve taught and kept active as a writer. Now I combine the two, I’m working on several projects for Youth Communication, a NYC based organization that publishes books and newspapers. The stories are written by the teens themselves, some of whom are in foster care.
PATCH: How did the idea for A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America come about?
Winkler: I met Miles Dean while working as a literacy consultant in Newark and became fascinated by his journey.
PATCH: How did Tangerine Tango come about?
Winkler: This was a really fun project – not that the other wasn’t, but this was different and great fun to work with the other writers.
PATCH: What are some of your fondest memories of Killingworth?
Winkler: I loved – and still do – Chatfield Hollow. We still go there to swim in the lake. I loved hiking and playing in the woods, riding my bike all over, and riding horses at the stable on Chestnut Hill Road.
PATCH: How often do you return home to visit?
Winkler: I try to visit my parents [Martin and Barbara Klein] about once a month.
PATCH: Excluding ones you have written, what is your favorite book?
Winkler: To Kill a Mockingbird resonates with me today as much as it did when I first read it while in 6th grade. I’ve taught the book too and think it says so much about the American experience through the innocence eyes of its child narrator, Scout.
PATCH: When did you decide to become a writer?
Winkler: I think I always loved to write. My mother still has (somewhere?) a story I wrote in 3rd grade. While in high school, Watergate happened and I became enthralled with journalism.
PATCH: How do you get your ideas?
Winkler: Now I freelance and either try to find topics that interest me or take on assignments given to me by editors. I really can only write about subjects that interest me.
PATCH: What are you currently working on?
Winkler: I’m really stretching myself – I’m enrolled in a playwriting workshop. It’s great to try a different genre.
Lisa (Klein) Winkler grew up in Killingworth in the 60s and 70s. She attended Killingworth Elementary School and Morgan High School. Her father, Martin Klein was a poultry farmer and the entire family – Lisa’s mother, two sisters and brother – worked on the farm. After graduating from Vassar College, Lisa wanted to be a journalist. She worked as a reporter for the Hartford Courant and the Danbury News-Times.
Lisa moved to London where she worked as a freelance journalist. She returned to the States where she became certified through New Jersey’s Alternate Route program, designed for people from other professions to enter education. She continues to write, for professional journals, interviewing authors of literature for children and young adults, and creating study guides for Penguin and others.
Lisa’s first book, "A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America" tells the story of Miles J. Dean, a Newark, NJ schoolteacher, who rode his horse from New York to California to celebrate the contributions African Americans made in the settling of the United States.
"Tangerine Tango" came about after Lisa’s one-year anniversary blogging under www.cyclingrandma.wordpress.com. She invited several writers, mostly other bloggers she’s befriended through blogging, to join the project. The title was inspired by her love of alliteration and for the color orange. Tangerine Tango includes essays and poems about parents, families, jobs, food, and memories.
Her other writing includes two essays published in book anthologies; one in "I’m Going to College – Not You! Surviving the College Search with Your Child." (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), and the other in Wisdom of our Mothers. (Familia Press, 2010.)
She writes for Education Update and JerseyMan magazine. Lisa is an avid reader, knitter, yogi, cyclist, and grandmother.
The event is free but space is limited. Please register in advance by calling the Killingworth Library at 860-663-2000 or stopping by in person.