A pile of paper prompts Jody Feldman, author of the Gollywhopper Games series, to plant a tree for every new book

See this picture? It’s one of the last images I show students when I visit them in schools.

I want to leave a lasting impression about the important of rewriting, but when I first saw this – various drafts of The Gollywhopper Games (book #1 only) – it left a different impression on me, a troubling one. How many trees do I chop down for my work? 

It made me sort of ill, but this was my process. This was how I wrote books. It didn’t have to be, though. I learned how to become more comfortable editing on my computer. I stopped printing out draft after draft after draft. And still, it wasn’t enough. So I added something. 

I added this in my front yard:

And with the publication of The Seventh Level, I added this in my backyard:

In front, it’s a Bradford pear tree I bought from a tree farm. In back, it’s three maple trees,  now fused together, that self-planted from seed. Instead of clearing them out with the weeds, I protected them until they stood tall on their own. 

I have two more books coming out, and each release will be marked by a new tree. It’s the least I can do to replenish what I’ve used. And with luck and hard work, I’m hoping I wind up living in a forest I plant myself.

Jody Feldman, the award-winning author of The Gollywhopper Games series and The Seventh Level, lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she’s always working on the puzzles or mysteries or twists for her next children’s novel. Find out more about her at www.jodyfeldman.com. Schedule Jody for an Authors for Earth Day school visit in April 2013, and she will donate part of her speaking fee to a conservation organization.

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