Speed Dating for Readers
Do You Chase Butterflies?
I don’t get many non-fiction authors to agree to come on one of my blogs. So I’m very happy to have the current president of Sleuths’ Ink, Nancy Dailey, agree to chat with us. She is a determined and relentless researcher as you will see. Turns out she also has a sense of humor and other talents besides being a terrific writer. Spin us a tale!
Hi! My name is Nancy Dailey and I have written a book. How novel. (I know, bad pun.) Actually it’s not a novel, but more about that later. I am a military brat which means that as a child my family traveled and moved A LOT. So if that didn’t influence my life, then I must have the Travel Gene, for I still love to travel.
As a teenager I was a private exchange student in Germany for a year. I learned the language there; I had to in order to survive! Very few people knew English way back then. I also enrolled in an evening art school. Quite perceptive of me––for I majored in art at the University of Missouri.
Skip now to retirement and new adventures, one of which was to begin writing about Maria Sybilla Merian. Who? you ask. Exactly why I felt the need to get the word out. Maria was born in 1647. Yikes, history, not my cup of tea! And not much information available in English. Even our local librarian could only find one sentence about her. Add the German internet, and I was off and running. Eventually I traveled to Frankfurt and Nürnberg, Germany; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Paramaribo, Suriname––in South America––for the research which helped make the book what it is. Whew!
I also enjoy geocaching, zip lining, anything creative––my most recent new project was to build a ship in a bottle. Right now I am working on creating a flip-book which I intend to put on my website for people to print and assemble. After that, who knows? I may…
Title of Book: Chasing Caterpillars: The Life and Times of Maria Sybilla Merian
Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717) lived during a time when superstition, beginning studies of the natural world, and religion were all enmeshed together; caterpillars were thought to be the work of the devil, yet the weaving of silk thread––from silkworm cocoons––was a growing business. Maria became fascinated with the transformation of that caterpillar into a moth and wondered if other caterpillars did the same thing. Nobody could give her an answer, which was probably a good thing, because she then began a lifelong scientific study and expert documentation of her own observations since, as a female, she was not allowed to attend any university or scientific group. She persisted through all obstacles, even traveling to South America to continue her studies, and eventually became Europe’s recognized authority on the science of metamorphosis…and today is known as the mother of entomology!
My website is: nancy-dailey.com