Meet the Author

Laurie Carlson

Portrait of Laurie Carlson

Laurie Carlson is very interested in history, especially biographies about real people from the past. She says, "People read biographies for many of the same reasons they read novels: to be entertained, to be informed, to be comforted or inspired, to identify with successful people, to live somebody else's life for a while."

Carlson likes writing about people with interesting personalities who lived in dramatic times — people like John Batterson Stetson. She has this advice for others who want to write biographies: "Search for people who tried to break the mold society had created for them, who strived to do something different and worthwhile, even if they made poor decisions or met with failure…. Writers need to examine a person's life, the hurdles and obstructions he or she met, and how that person overcame them."

Laurie Carlson thinks that in a biography "the setting is another character of sorts," because it presents challenges that a person must overcome. For example, John Batterson Stetson made the first of his famous hats because he needed a way to protect his head from the harsh sun and wind of the Colorado frontier. If someone were writing a biography about you, how do you think your neighborhood, town, or state might be like a character in the story? Talk about your ideas with a partner.

Photography Credit