About Dr. Emily Creegan
Dr. Emily Creegan studied Environmental Science and earned a PhD in biomass utilization. She is an instructor and climate change curriculum developer at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. Her current course is Everything is Connected: Solutions for Our Warming World. She also works for a large city in California as a Recycling Specialist with focus on SB 1383, California’s climate change reduction bill.
About Katie Creegan
After a career as a technical editor, writer, and project manager where I wrote professional technical publications and business communication, I’ve turned to socially conscious topics like climate change, young-adult fiction that intertwines social justice with magical realism, and children’s books. What different worlds! Creative writing is more challenging than I imagined. Writing books that sell takes the game to a new level.
The craft of creative writing is in many ways contrary to the tech environment in Silicon Valley that shaped my approach. I’ve had to switch gears: stop analyzing like a technical writer, and think instead like a novelist, move from an analytical approach to a way of the heart, cognizant of emotions, senses, pain, and cruelty.
I’ve learned that writing creatively is a journey. In preparing my debut novel, Wounds and Wildflowers, I’ve chosen the traditional publishing route, meaning my working title might change as my book travels the gamut from editor, to agent, to publisher. Wounds and Wildflowers shines a light on the human side of predicaments that plague at-risk teenagers and troubled families today. Multicultural and diverse, Native American, Central American, and Christian belief systems intertwine.
My love of Latin cultures started early. With connections in Nicaragua, I first visited Central America and Mexico at age seven with my parents and siblings. Over the years I visited family there again and again, and witnessed the effects of third-world economies and infrastructures on lower and middle classes. Although simple, peaceful, and joyful in many ways, deprivation was rampant. Quality medical care and education were hard to come by unless one had money. Completing high school and college were dreams most often realized only by wealthier classes.
During my travels I lived with a family of farmers in Nicaragua’s Atlantic-coast jungle near El Rama and Bluefields, I visited Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan and Tikal, and Our Lady of Guadalupe’s shrine in Mexico. I appreciated indigenous art and cultures, and the blended belief systems that manifested as a result of native beliefs merging with the adopted Catholic faith. This merging of beliefs began in the 1500s during the Spanish conquest when Spaniards destroyed Aztec temples and built Catholic churches in their place. The Spaniards knew the natives revered their sacred sites, and gambled that they could convert more natives to Catholicism if they built churches on the very grounds that had been spiritual magnets for centuries. One of the protagonists in Wounds and Wildflowers is from Nicaragua near places I stayed. In search of a better life, he and his family make the harrowing trip north to escape life-threatening violence in their home country. After arriving in California they confront the complications and disappointments of migrant farm work and undocumented immigration.
As a young adult, I worked as an intake worker at an employment agency in Healdsburg, California serving migrant farm workers, many undocumented. I found migrant families in California battling similar struggles with poverty and illiteracy as people in Latin countries, and was surprised and saddened that these struggles were so close to home. This novel illuminates the conflicts of teens and troubled families, of immigrants both documented and undocumented, and acknowledges ancient Native American ideologies that thrive today and are accessible to those curious enough to seek them out.
I’ve drawn on my life experiences in Central America, Mexico and California, my stint with manual labor at a brussel sprouts factory in Santa Cruz, and the employment agency in Healdsburg. Woven together are cross-cultural spirituality, dreamland, magical engagements with the spirit world, and my love of native and Latin cultures, music, and chocolate. Divinely delicious and mouthwatering chocolate is the most tempting and craved of all foods, the food of the gods, believed by some to help people strengthen their love for one another and the earth.
- Sonoma State University, Master of Arts, English, Creative Writing track
- UCSC Professional Certification — Management of Publications, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
- SJSU Professional Certification — Technical Writing, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
- How Writers Write Fiction— University of Iowa, International Writing Program, 2015
- Bake Your Book Writing Program, 2012
- Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop, occbww.com, University of the Pacific Professional and Continuing Education, 2012
- San Francisco Writers Conference classes
- Substitute teacher, SCOE
- PMP, Project Management Professional
- Sonoma State University, California
- Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco chapter, WNBA San Francisco
- San Francisco Writers Conference volunteer, SFWC