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Nora Raleigh Baskin

As a child

Nora Baskin was born in Brooklyn, New York City, but she considers herself a country girl. She moved to upstate New York when she was seven, and spent most of her childhood playing in the woods, swimming in creeks, and bicycling on rural roads. Despite having had several combinations of parents and step-parents, and moving eleven times before sixth grade, Nora’s childhood was full of stories and make-believe. Reading was one way of feeling less alone. Writing became another.

As an adult

Nora continued to write all through high school and college, but it wasn’t until she was married with two small children that she began to pursue seriously the dream she had had as a child. Still, it took many years, and a pile of rejections, before her manuscript was bought. “It wasn’t a matter of sending out the same story over and over, it was a matter of trying to get better, reading, and constantly writing something new.” The manuscript that was finally published, grew out of true experiences (the loss of her mother when Nora was very young). So, in a way, it was the very same painful memories that made her dream come true. Life can be funny and wonderful that way.

As an artist

Now a published author, Nora never forgets how fortunate she is. “To be given the opportunity to express myself. To share thoughts and feelings and stories. I am grateful every day.” Her first novel, What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, was followed by Almost Home. Both are semi-autobiographical stories, about girls searching for a place to belong. Her own two teenage sons, Sam and Ben, inspired Basketball or Something Like It. Her latest books for Walker are Subway Love and Surfacing. Nora now teaches creative writing for children, and speaks at schools and libraries across the country. “Never stop dreaming, because dreams really can come true.”

Things you didn't know about Nora Raleigh Baskin

  1. I love my dog so much. He sleeps in bed with us, and usually eats what my family eats for breakfast and supper.
  2. I ran the relay in high school and was pretty good. But I was very competitive and got incredibly nervous before every track meet.
  3. I was voted “Most Theatrical” in high school.
  4. I wanted to be an actress and a singer (soooo badly), but I wasn’t very good. And I got really, really nervous before I had to go on stage.
  5. I failed Shakespeare in college and had to take it again.
  6. I had my appendix removed when I was eleven. I used to colour in my scar to make it look like a sword.
  7. I love to swim laps, but I didn’t learn to swim until I was an adult. Now I’m really good, and I like to show off.
  8. When I’m driving in my car alone, I sing really loud and pretend I am on American Idol.
  9. My car is a complete mess. My house is very clean.
  10. Sometimes, when I’m happy, it actually scares me. I’m trying to get over that.

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