Jeff Glor talks to Patricia Ellis Herr about her latest book, "Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure."
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?
Patricia Ellis Herr: Alex asked me to write a public account of our real-life adventures. She knew I enjoyed the process of writing, since I had a regular habit of penning original, fictional stories. It was easy for me to shift my attention from fiction to memoir. I'd always kept a personal journal of our hikes, and it wasn't difficult to shape that journal into a manuscript.
JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?
PH: "Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure" describes some, but not all, of our adventures on the trails. I was surprised at which hikes and lessons made my own editorial cut. One would think, for example, that a near-encounter with a bear might prove a more interesting read than a description of a dying bumblebee. However, the bumblebee illustrated an important point I felt was essential to the overall story while our near-encounter with the bear didn't add anything of substance. Therefore, the bear was cut and the dying bumblebee made it to print.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
PH: Since I'm a homeschooling mom, most of my daytime hours are dedicated to my kids; I do the bulk of my writing between 10pm and 2am, when everyone else is sleeping. Therefore, if I weren't a writer, I'd probably be snoozing away with the rest of my family instead of sipping coffee every midnight.
JG: What else are you reading right now?
PH: I'm knee-deep in children's classics at the moment. My daughters and I just finished reading L. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" and Sidney Lanier's "King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table." We're about to delve into Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." For my own, personal reading, I just pre-ordered my copy of Cheryl Strayed's memoir, "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail."
JG: What's next for you?
PH: I'm working on another nonfiction manuscript. Also, the girls and I continue to hike mountains. We're in the process of highpointing the United States (standing on the highest point of each state), and we're casually making our way through three other White Mountain hiking lists. We're also planning a long-term effort of hiking or biking 50 miles in each of the 50 states; we'd like to do this for charity and are in the midst of working out the details.
For more on "Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure," visit the Random House website.