Dana Stewart Quinney Interview
Idaho Author, Dana Stewart Quinney, recently took a few minutes to answer questions about her newest book, Wildflower Girl. Wildflower Girlis comprised of Dana’s childhood stories growing up in the mountain town of Ketchum, Idaho. Dana was enchanted and inspired by the outdoors in a powerful way that shaped her as both a child and an adult. As an adult this wonder led her to hold a distinguished career in field biology.
Here is what she had to say about writing Wildflower Girland the inspiration behind it:
What inspired you to want to write your story?
I wanted to show how a few events, important to a child but not much noticed by anyone else, inspired my career in biology—how a little girl from a mountain town ended up studying such things ants in Mexico and reef fish in Australia.
What picture do you paint of Ketchum in the 50’s?
Ketchum was a mountain town where everyone knew everyone else—and knew who had which dogs, horses, and cars. But it was, and still is, a place where the wealthy and famous could live alongside the townspeople without any of the hype that typically accompanies their presence. As a girl focused on wild things, I didn’t spend much time in town.
What challenges did you face in writing this story?
Wildflower Girlis a series of true stories that started out as reminiscences for family and students. It’s easy to get people excited about lions and tigers or a climb to the top of the highest mountain, but I wanted people to share my excitement in seeing the charming, overlooked places and creatures, the little lives that anyone can discover.
What advice do you have for children or young adults who are passionate about “the wilds”?
Learn how to identify what you are seeing—plants, creatures, rock formations. That will make your experiences much richer and will help you to distinguish true conservation practices from supposed conservation efforts that may be harmful.
What do you love most about Idaho?
I love the public lands and the freedom they afford us. There are millions of acres in Idaho where anyone can go and hike, camp, walk with a dog, photograph flowers, or simply sit on a rock and breathe. You don’t need a campground, you don’t need to pay a fee, and you don’t need to interact with anyone. That’s freedom.
What does enjoying the wilds look like for you now that you are in a more seasoned chapter of life?
I am still enchanted.
Several years ago, I decided that I liked the idea of a “New Years Challenge” rather than a “New Year’s Resolution.” As a person with a competitive nature, a “challenge” was something I felt more compelled to work toward and “win”, rather than a resolution, which always felt like a change you made for January and then forgot about for the rest of the year.
Last year, I gifted books to everyone on our Christmas List. Young and old, near and far, everyone got a book. I loved the excuse to spend time in the bookstore; looking at spines, reading back covers, asking for recommendations.
It is no secret that I love books. But what I love even more is when the opportunity arises to combine great books, with creative activities, or delicious recipes. This post will be about the former.