Linda Horne has three goals as she ventures into publishing children's books. One is to start a new career after being laid off by the National Park Service. Another is to provide some educational assistance for teachers and parents. And a third, closely tied to the second, is to resurrect healthier, simpler ways of putting food on people's tables. Horne, who lives in the Echo Valley area of Ashford, launched Sun and Moon Publishing and is writing and illustrating children's books after budget cuts took away her job as a maintenance worker at Mount Rainier National Park. "I've been unemployed since then," she said. "Finding a decent job close to home was a task, so I decided to write a children's book and start my own publishing company." Her first book, "If I Had a Farm," is a 31-page story about a young boy's dream to have a farm some day and all the things he would like on the farm, from animals to beehives. Each page has a rhyme and a picture. One depicts the boy in the produce department of a grocery store, where he says, "I only buy healthy foods, you see. The other foods don't taste as good to me." Horne said that might be "controversial" for some people, but "I'm taking a chance on this book that it will be an inspiration to all to make us realize that we need to go back to the simple ways of living and growing our own food so we actually know that it is a healthy product for us to eat." She's hoping the book "will be a good learning aide for all teachers and parents for our children's education on GMOs (genetically modified organisms)," Horne said. "So many adults don't even know what that is. I feel it is important to stress what we are eating nowadays and what our children are eating, as well. Children are our future, and this book demonstrates a good lifestyle (through a farm) that will be important for growing good, wholesome food - food that we know is healthy and not tainted with poisons. It's important for our children and all of us." To help with the early promotion of her book, Horne carved a replica of each page carving on six-inch-by-seven-inch pieces of cedar wood, painted the images with acrylic paint, and displayed them on the wall of a bakery in Centralia. " I don't think that's been done before by other authors or illustrators of children's books," she said, adding the local newspaper for Centralia took note and was going to do a story about her and the book. Horne, who plans to return to the bakery to sign copies of the book after it's printed and ready for shipment in April, hopes she can fill an additional aspiration with her book: "I want to let people know, young and old alike, that dreaming in life is important - that we should never let go of our dreams."
Q and A ... with Linda Horne
Dispatch: Did you do any writing or publishing work before now? Horne: I've never written a book before. I have had some artwork experience. In 1989, my first poem was entitled "Flutterbye" and had artwork above it in the form of a butterfly. Since then, I ve written lots of poetry with art but haven't developed any poetry books out of them. Dispatch: How did a bakery in Centralia become a place where you unveiled your book? Horne: A friend suggested I display it in the Market Street Bakery. There was an open window of April to do so. Local artists get to display their work for one month at a time there. I'm unemployed and need this outlet to help advertise my small business called Sun and Moon Publishing. And I wanted to display my work to show children and adults a good, wholesome way to live and to be knowledgeable about GMOs. Dispatch: How can people preview or order the book and learn more about it? Horne: I recently started a web site called ifihadafarm.com. There you can see some of my work. I'll add a Pay Pal account soon for orders. My book will also be available on Amazon.com. Dispatch: Tell us about your time working at Mount Rainier National Park. Horne: My job for 11 years was in the maintenance department. I worked six years mainly at the Carbon River area, then two years at Ohanapecosh Campground, then the remaining three years all over the park's interior. I landscaped, painted and took care of the campgrounds, and I directed and informed visitors on various hikes in the park.