Questions to Unlock Stories - All these questions have the possibility of evoking strnog emotions, and that's where the energy of good writing comes from.
"Head of the Holler" - in this video, George Ella talks with Dr. Chad Berry, director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College, about growing up in eastern Kentucky, finding inspiration for writing and her upcoming publications. "Head of the Holler" is produced by Berea College and airs on the Kentucky Educational Television network:
Lesson Plans and Activities
Lesson plans and activities are available for some of my books. Click on the links below. (Titles are noted alphabetically.)
"Where I’m From" – As part of a study of The Killer Angels, 8th Grade English Language Arts teacher Cindy Blandford wrote a lesson plan asking students to write a “Where I’m From” poem about one of the characters in The Killer Angels.
FAQ from Children
Where did you get such a strange name? Did your parents want a boy?
Actually, they already had a boy. They wanted a girl with a strange name! (No, I'm kidding.) Mother named me after her brother George and her sister Ella. If she'd taken their middle names, I would be Benjamin May.
Why did you become a writer?
I always loved songs, poems, and stories. Since I was a shy kid, it was natural for me to use writing to express feelings and thoughts I couldn't just say. Gradually I discovered that not only did writing help me express myself, it could be exciting, joyful, and comforting in itself. I realized I loved making things out of words. That's why I became a writer.
Where do you get your ideas?
I don't write from ideas so much as from feelings. When something touches me deeply, I write to capture or explore or understand it. This begins in my journal where it's just for me. Then if it seems like something I want to share, I move out of my journal and start working on a legal pad. I don't usually know what it's going to be or who it's for when I begin. I write to find out!
Does anybody help you with your writing?
Lots of people! All the writers whose books I read, for example. My writers group. Other writer friends, such as Louise Borden. My husband, Steve. My editor, Dick Jackson. My agent, Kendra Marcus. Readers who write and tell me what they liked and give me the courage to keep going.
What do you like to do besides write?
Read. Sing and play the guitar. Take long walks. Watch movies. Travel. Look at other kinds of art. Hang out with friends, family, and cats. Right now I watch Widgett, our kitten, a lot. She can jump straight up! She can do yoga. She can turn a feather into a stick of spit in three seconds! She is either totally alive or sound asleep. I would like to be like that.
Are you rich?
No. Most writers can't make a living just from writing. I have about fifty other jobs a year, many of them author visits. But my LIFE is rich, because I get to do what I love and share it with other people. And the joy that gives me is something money can't buy.