by Lorie Lewis Ham
On May 29 KRL celebrated our 5th anniversary! One of the things we are doing to celebrate is to introduce a few of our staff writers to all of you! Some you have already gotten to know as they are also mystery authors and have been interviewed here–but many you have not, other than what you have learned through what they write for us. I’m even learning fun things I didn’t know about our staff! This week we are profiling Lee Juslin who writes wonderful stories about rescued animals and therapy animals for KRL.
KRL: Where were you born and raised?
Lee: Hackensack, NJ.
KRL: Where do you live now?
Lee: New Bern, NC. My husband, Scott, is a New Englander so we lived in MA and NH before moving down here in ‘03.
KRL: When and how did you get into writing?
Lee: My mother was a trained journalist and though she didn’t work after getting married she taught me a lot about writing including a love of the language and how to develop one’s own voice as a writer. In 7th grade my best friend ran for class president and asked me to make her nominating speech. My mother showed me the proper format for a political speech, and I was a big hit because no one else knew how to develop and deliver a nominating speech.
KRL: What writing have you done besides KRL?
Lee: As a teacher, a colleague and I wrote a course of study to help kids learn about and experience the political process. We recreated political conventions, studied the primary process, the Electoral College, and through to a mock election. It was so well received we were asked to present the program to other schools in the state.
Later, I worked as Director of Community Services at a state college developing programs designed to bring community and college together, and then I worked as a freelance copywriter and wrote copy for brochures, ads, and a variety of marketing materials.
Today I have a small on-line embroidery business that I use to promote and support various Cairn, Scottie, and Westie rescues and I do an on-line newsletter promoting my products as well as a listing of upcoming rescue events.
Lee: I’ve written a series of books about Nurse Frosty, patterned after my wonderful Scottie, Frosty, who was a certified therapy dog and one of the first recognized by the AKC therapy dog program. The books are designed to expose kids to the aging process, nursing homes, etc. and to facilitate conversations between adults and kids about why people go into nursing homes and how to deal with the process. I wanted to show that nursing homes are not scary places and that grandma is still grandma and enjoys visits and family activities. The impetus for the first book came when Frosty and I were visiting a nursing home new to us. I told the director what a nice facility it was: well maintained, light and airy and she smiled and said that she often gets that from families touring the facility but then they will say: “But we could never bring the children here.” Frosty and I were horrified and that was what gave me the idea for the Nurse Frosty children’s books.
KRL: Tell us about your books.
KRL: I understand you were involved in working with therapy dogs. When/how did that come to be?
Lee: When Frosty came to us as a puppy, I saw what a great personality she had. A friend, Sandy Murphy, had a therapy dog, Izzie, and she encouraged us to get involved in pet provided therapy. It was the best thing I ever did.
KRL: Tell us a little about what you write for KRL?
Lee: I write profiles of rescued pets and therapy pets, my two passions.
KRL: How did you first get involved with KRL?
Lee: A friend suggested KRL, I contacted them, and the rest is history.
KRL: Why pet writing?
Lee: It’s what I know and what I care about.
KRL: Where do you get your ideas?
Lee: The rescue stories come from the many rescue groups–both regional and national–that I support. Often, one group or a friend will recommend another group.
KRL: What are some of your favorite things you have written about for KRL or favorite articles?
Lee: I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed all of them and meeting through a phone interview the individual involved in each profile. I’ve made so many friends through my writing.
Lee: My husband, Scott, and three cats: Onslo, Daisy, L’il B. Currently, we are without a Scottie which is strange for us as we have had Scotties in our family from 1989. But, we are not up for another dog right now and two of my cats are handicapped so I need to think of them.
Lee: Reading mysteries, riding my bike, and, of course, my embroidery.
You can find more animal rescue, therapy animal, and other pet related articles in our pet section.