Bruce Smith is a wildlife biologist and an award-winning author of five books of natural history, conservation, and outdoor adventure, including Life on the Rocks: A Portrait of the Mountain Goat, which won the National Outdoor Book Award.
During years of scientific forums and book presentations Bruce noted that there were never children present at these events. Bruce, determined to include the younger generations in the climate change and environmentalist conversations, created a fictional mountain goat character named Buddy, who debuts in his first middle-grade novel, Legend Keepers: The Chosen One. It is a story of hope, perseverance, finding one’s purpose, and triumph. Available August 2021.
Background, Growing up, and a little bit about yourself:
1. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Purposeful, patriotic, and passionate (about those things I care about)
2. Where did you grow up? North Muskegon, Michigan, near a lake, a marsh, and a woods
3. As a child did you enjoy school? What kind of student were you? I did enjoy school. I was self-motivated to succeed and often did a bit more than was required. Still, I couldn’t wait to get home to be on the lake, muck around in marshes, and take my dog fishing with me.
4. When you were younger, what did you “want to be when you grew up”? My interest in nature began early and in no small part due to the rural area in which I grew up. I played sports and hunted and fished with neighborhood kids. But I was also the odd kid who mapped and counted bird nests and their eggs in the marsh each spring. I kept a small zoo of reptiles and creepy crawlies in what formerly was my mother’s side of the garage. Early on, I knew I wanted to be a wildlife biologist, helping to conserve wild things and the places they live.
5. If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why? I would be a mountain goat (as you must have guessed!). I admire the places they roam and the patient and resolute way in which they live their lives. If a bird, I’d want to be an American kestrel. Why? Just watch one for a while!
6. Do you have a favorite quote? So many. This one comes to mind: Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value. Albert Einstein
7. Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Tell me about them. Several, but one that leaps to mind is Mrs. Cullen, my 6th-grade teacher and also my 8th-grade English teacher. I trace my composition aptitude to her commitment to making students the best writers they could be. As a kid, I didn’t enjoy writing (or for that matter reading), but she lit a flame. I still have several papers I wrote for her 8th-grade English class.
On Books and Writing:
1. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? A chapter in my nonfiction book, Stories from Afield, is based on an experience Diana and I had in South Africa. This wasn’t a pilgrimage but a happenstance encounter, as writers’ inspirations often are.
2. What is your favorite childhood book? As a child, I was not much of a reader, other than covering school assignments. But reading Moby Dick in high school turned me on to other books about the sea, such as Kon Tiki, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Treasure Island, The Sea Wolf, and others. Sometimes it takes just one match to light a fire.
3. Favorite authors and books as an adult? E.O. Wilson, J.R.R. Tolkien, Upton Sinclair, David Quammen, John Gierach, Katherine Applegate, Erin Hunter
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author? Writing was an integral part of my professional career. I’ve published dozens of both scientific and popular articles. It’s how we scientists document what we’ve learned and provide it to both professional and lay audiences—where it can do good. However, I wanted to reach a much broader audience about big subjects of importance to me. So, when I retired from my government career, I began writing nonfiction books, translating science through storytelling for a general readership.
4. Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? I can be contacted through my website:www.brucesmithwildlife.com
Releasing August 2021
The Chosen One
By Bruce Smith
If you like…
Authors: Katherine Applegate, Erin Hunter, Kate DiCamillo, Kathryn Lasky, Rosanne Parry, Carl Hiaasen
Books: The Last Bear, A Wolf Called Wander, Pax, The One and Only Ivan, the Bravelands series, Whale of the Wild, and Charlotte’s Web, Guardians of Ga’Hoole series, you will love Legend Keepers!
Rachel Wickstrom coordinates marketing at Hidden Shelf Publishing house. She’s an avid reader, master party-planner, craft enthusiast, a mom to two young boys with wildly long hair, and is married to a hospital chaplain. As an Oregon native, Rachel’s childhood memories are scented with juniper berries and the crisp mountain air of Central Oregon. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho where her days are scented with lukewarm coffee, and spilled snacks.
Fan readers of which authors/books do you think would enjoy this title and why? Walter Mosley fans would enjoy this book because it’s a mystery that’s steeped in black tradition and vernacular. Fans of Eric Jerome Dickey books would also enjoy this read because of its humor and accessibility.
Mark your calendars for the release of The Warden’s Son, a posthumous memoir about growing up at the Idaho State Penitentiary by Jerry Clapp, son of Idaho’s longest serving Warden, Lou Clapp, and featuring an introduction by Anthony Parry, Old Idaho Penitentiary Interpretive Specialist.
Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Oluadah Equiano; all familiar names that have been readily adopted by American history. These Black history figures have been canonized for oratory skills, abolition work, or for being a first. While their exploits are worthy of consideration, our history books have ignored countless members of society whose exploits are not chronicled, remembered, or celebrated by many.