Visit the Sentinel Tribune website
August 15, 2012
The Grandfather Tree
Robin Madson of rural Westbrook wrote stories influenced by her family
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Westbrook — “Back in high school I would have told you I wanted to write children’s books, she noted.” But sometimes a person’s dreams and aspirations have to be put on hold for many reasons. For Robin Madson her desire to write children’s books was delayed about 28 years.
After graduating from Westbrook High School she wed her high school sweetheart Mick Madson. After that she got involved with the family farm operation, and the couple raised their four children - Dominick, Danielle, Alexia and Anthony. “After raising the kids I was able to concentrate on hobbies,” said Madson.
Several years before she began writing her books, Madson used her writing skills working for the Sentinel Tribune, the Tracy Headlight Herald, And the Southwest Minnesota Sailor.” She also worked for Sanford as a ghost writer for medical articles, and worked in Outreach for several years. Madson is also a free lance photographer specializing in wedding photography.
Undaunted, Madson published her first children’s book The Grandfather Tree in 2009. Shortly after publishing that Madson went right into writing her second book “No More Crackers Please.”
Her first book The Grandfather Tree was spawned from her experience growing up on a farm just three miles up the road from the home she now lives in. The roots of this book go back over a hundred years. Robin’s grandfather Ole Nelson was born in 1901, and a Cottonwood seedling was left growing in a field on the west side of the farm site. Today the large Cottonwood still stands tall in the middle of the field. “Only God will remove that tree,” she mused.
The story draws a parallel to the grandchildren and their granddad. “Just as any grandfather would, the branches stand guard over the little ones like strong arms that hug his children,” reads from the pages of her book.
“Several of my grandchildren were in Germany with their family in the military. I went there to visit and read them my book — which was fun!” Madson said.
Madson compared how things have changed in the publishing business. Before, back in the eighties, you had to send in a manuscript and wait eight weeks before you would likely get a rejection letter.
Today there are many publishing companies that allow you to self publish books. Madson researched several companies before choosing AuthorHouse publishing to do her book, as this company was very user friendly. They take care of all the issues of copyright, and other legal matters related to publishing.
After finishing The Grandfather Tree Robin began working on her second book No More Crackers Please. For this book she collaborated with her son Dominick, who is a graphic designer, at Label Works in North Mankato.
For the graphics, Robin drew up pencil sketches of the graphics for the book, she then scanned them and sent them to Dominick to develop them on the computer into the final art for the book.
Madson had the idea for this book for quite some time. The book is related mainly to Minnesota. She said, “when you get away from Minnesota people really don’t even know where the state is on the map. I was trying to show a little bit of the way people are like in Minnesota.”
One of the characters in the book was patterned after her grandfather Ole Nelson and her brother Ole Nelson. “Ole, portrayed as a friendly pet store owner, always wears a scarf, mittens, and plaid shirt, even when he goes to Brazil, except there he has shorts and knobby knees,” she chuckled.
The concept of the book was inspired by Madson wanting to teach her grandchildren about eating and good nutrition in a fun way. “Hopefully it will show them that it didn’t do Polly, the parrot, any good eating all those crackers,” said Madson.
Researching and writing has always been something she enjoyed. In high school she did a lot of work on the school newspaper, annual staff, and took journalism courses. “English and Art were my favorite subjects — it is a passion I got enjoyment from those subjects.” she said.
Madson feels reading should inspire conversation — adults need to talk with their kids when they are reading to them.
Madson does not have enough time to go to book and craft fairs to promote her books. Her next goal is to do more of that.
Her books are available on Amazon.com, and on Barnes & Nobles.com or they can be purchased from Madson.
© 2013 Sentinel Tribune
Westbrook, Minnesota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from STPNS