"Prosperity always inflates the imprudent, and worldly peace weakens the vigor of the soul." - Peter Abelard

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Foot, A Book, And A New Hope

This story was originally published in the May 19th issue of The Wellesley Townsman.

Anne Ramsay poses with her newly published book, "Turtle Soup and Tiramisu." Photo by Rhys Heyden.
When Anne Ramsay suffered a serious foot injury three years ago, the lifelong dancer and choreographer was suddenly hobbled. While the injury effectively ended her professional dancing career, it also opened a new door.

Ramsay, eager for ideas to fill newfound free time, started a writing club for Wellesley elementary school kids and, in particular, started to write a story about a tall ship.

Three years later, Ramsay is a published author, and the story – “Turtle Soup and Tiramisu” – has blossomed into a 120-page children’s book.

“I wrote the first few pages, and the kids did some drawings in them. I read what I wrote to the kids and they really liked it, so I kept writing. Every week I would write more and more,” said Ramsay, who works as the Sprague Site Coordinator for the Wellesley Community Children’s Center.

“Turtle Soup and Tiramisu,” which is available through Amazon and select local booksellers, took Ramsay a year and a half to write and another year to edit. Though many people helped her through the writing process, Ramsay said her most invaluable contributors were the kids she works with.

“Turtle Soup,” Ramsay explained, “is in the book because when I first started writing the story we were talking about what things a pirate would eat. And ones girl goes, “Well, obviously, they eat turtle soup.” I owe the title of the book to her.”

During the writing process, Ramsay carried the journal she wrote in around in her bag, adding to it whenever an idea came to her. The kids at Sprague wanted her to write more, so she kept reading to them and getting their input.

“I absolutely love it. I love working with kids. I love that I can be creative every day and I can do art, I can do music, I can do writing, I can do cooking with the kids. The kids are always so receptive,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay, who has worked at the WCCC for 5 years, published the book herself with Amazon’s self-publishing tool CreateSpace. She is hoping to get noticed by a big-time publisher, but for now manages publicity herself, scheduling book signings and writing workshops across the state.

The book follows the adventures of the three Covenly children, who are lured onto a tall ship by Henry Sprague, a troublemaking local boy. When the tall ship takes off with the children still on it, they have to figure out a way home and fend off the mysterious Captain Upham.

Many of the characters are named after Wellesley’s libraries and elementary schools, and Ramsay said she wrote the book to be gender-neutral and accessible to a wide range of children.

“I love working with children and I love being inspired by children, and I hope they enjoy my book,” said Ramsay.

Ramsay will be doing a book signing on June 11 from 2-4 p.m. at the Wellesley Booksmith.


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