Welcome to the Author Page of Lael Littke
Co-author of The Company of Good Women series.
Idaho farm girl, converted to big cities.
Lives in Pasadena; loves California beaches.
Author of more than 40 books for YA and kids.
Favorite book to read: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Once had nine cats, now only five.
Books by Lael Littke
Books by Lael Littke (not a complete list)
Young Adult fiction
Trish for President
Shanny on Her Own
Loydene in Love
Where the Creeks Meet
Prom Dress (best seller; named by a librarian as “the book most stolen from our library”)
Getting Rid of Rhoda
The Mystery of Ruby’s Ghost
Star of the Show
There’s a Snake at Girls Camp
The Bridesmaids Dress Disaster
The Phantom Fair
Run Ducky Run
Searching for Selene
Lake of Secrets
Young Adult non-fiction
Stories from the Life of Joseph Smith
Keepers of Blackbird Hill
Women’s novels, series, with co-authors Nancy Anderson and Carroll Hofeling Morris
Three Tickets to Peoria
Search her Profile at Deseret Books
Search her Profile at Amazon
Lael is the author of over 40 books for young people. Trish for President, Shanny on her Own, and Loydene in Love were on the New York Public Library's "Recommended List for Teenagers." Blue Skye received the "Notable Book" award from the Southern California Council on Children's Literature and Prom Dress garnered the dubious honor of being "the book most often stolen" at one school library. Her most recent YA books are Haunted Sister, Searching for Selene and Lake of Secrets.
One of the many reviews of Haunted Sister on Amazon.com raves:The Haunted Sister was the best book I ever read. I love the paranormal stuff, and if you do, then you'll love this book. It all begins when a girl, Janine gets into a car crash and "dies." she sees her dead twin Lenore, who comes back to life with her. Lenore wants her life back. How far will she go? Will Janine survive? To find out, READ!
Lael has also co-authored the trilogy, The Company of Good Women, with Nancy Anderson and Carroll Morris. Almost Sisters, Three Tickets to Peoria, and Surprise Packages were all in the top ten of the General Fiction list on the Deseret Book website. She has also co-authored Stories from the Life of Joseph Smith with Richard E. Turley, Jr.
The following short biography gives a delightful view of this writer’s most interesting life.
I've always said I grew up as a wart on a horse, which is more or less true, since from the time I was three or four I was climbing on whatever horse was available, be it a pony or a comfortable old workhorse. I grew up on a farm in Mink Creek, Idaho, third child of four of Frank and Ada Jensen. I remember wanting to be a writer about as soon as I learned there were such things as stories. I loved books, and I read through my mother's and my Aunt Mahalia's stash of books as soon as I could decipher the words. Our small country school had a meager library, but every winter a crate of books came from the Idaho State Circulating Library. Each year I read every one of them.
We worked hard on the farm, beginning when we were eight years old. I guess nobody on the farm ever heard of child labor laws then! If we were old enough to be baptized, we were old enough to ride the derrick horse during haying season. Old enough to weed the large vegetable garden. Old enough to gather and clean the eggs from the 500 hens we had each year. I've always been grateful that I learned to work hard at an early age.
We lived in the section of Mink Creek (population 400) known as Dogtown -- I don't know why. Mostly Jensens lived there, since there had been five brothers who had farms there. I grew up surrounded by dozens of cousins -- thirty of them, I think. I didn't know until I grew up how many lived at Uncle Hans's house. Jim and Hans married sisters, Dora and Mary. Both families had several kids. Then Jim and Mary died, and Hans and Dora married and had a lot more kids. They all lived in the big gray house that had been built by Grandpa Thomas and Grandma Hansine Marie Jensen when they came over from Denmark to settle in Mink Creek. I thought that house was one of the most fascinating places on earth.
I attended the Mink Creek School where we had three grades to a room and a teacher. We didn't always get the best teachers, but when I was in the 7th grade, Emil F. Larson came to be the principal of the school and junior high teacher. His best subject was English, and he swore he was going to teach us farm kids the principles of the language or die trying. We diagrammed sentences endlessly. We drilled on person, number, gender, case. We learned to unsplit infinitives. We became acquainted with gerunds and the subjunctive mode. I'll be forever grateful to Mr. Larson for teaching me to love -- and manipulate -- the English language and for encouraging me to write.
The Mink Creek students had to go to Preston for the last two years of high school. We found that our little country school had prepared us well. When I graduated, I and three of our girlfriends made up almost a third of the 10 honor grads.
I went to college at Utah State University, then known as the Cow College. My cousin Juanita and I were the first girls in our families to graduate. Our older brothers, Varon and Max, graduated the same year because they'd been in the army and on missions. I was a big day for the Jensen family.
After graduation I went to Denver with some friends to be a career girl. Although I'd obtained my teaching certificate, I decided I didn't want to teach, so I got a job as a secretary at the Gates Rubber Company. I liked it well enough, and I totally enjoyed the social life at Denver First Ward. There were a lot of cute young single men in Denver at the time, at Lowry Air Force Base, or pursuing other careers. I met George Littke when I was MIA music director and needed a tenor to fill out a quartet for a program I was planning. Someone pointed him out, saying, ?I sat in front of him and he's got a good voice on him.? I asked him to sing with the quartet, and it wasn?t long before he asked me for a date. Four months later he asked me to marry him.
Just five months after our marriage, George was offered a fellowship to finish his Ph.D. work in political science -- at New York University in New York City. I was thrilled. When I was a kid, I'd dream about being a writer and living in a penthouse in New York City (I think I saw too many movies) and dating Cary Grant. I didn?t meet Cary Grant, and we lived in a small garden apartment in Queens, but I did become a writer. Although I worked full time, I stayed late in the city one night a week to study writing at City College of New York for several years. My first sale was to the old Relief Society Magazine. My next sale was to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I sold many stories to both of these publications.
After our daughter, Lori, was born, I quit my job but continued studying writing. By the time we left New York (almost nine years after we arrived there), I had a toe-hold in the business of writing. We moved to the Los Angeles area where George had accepted a position teaching political science at California State University, Los Angeles. It wasn?t long before I learned there was a really fine writing teacher at Pasadena City College. I got out a map and figured out how to get to Pasadena, and started my association with Helen Hinckley Jones which continued until her death in 1991. I credit Helen with most of my success as a writer. My classmates and I dubbed her our "literary mama," and to this day we cite the writing rules she taught us. Under her direction I began selling to national magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal and McCall's and Seventeen. From her I learned how to construct a novel, and sold my first one to Scholastic, followed soon by several sales to Harcourt, and to Henry Holt Company. When she retired, I taught one of her classes for eight years.
From her classes came the critique group I still belong to. We would meet on Thursday nights in her class and on another day in a group we called Lunch Bunch. After Helen died, we continued to meet on Thursday nights as well as on Tuesday mornings. Meeting twice a week required that we keep our fingers on those typewriter keys. We started out having a party each time anybody from our group sold a book. Soon we were having two or three parties a month, so we stopped that so we could spend more time writing.
With the advance on my first novel, my husband and I and Lori and her friend Mimi took a trip to Europe, spending time in Denmark, Germany, France, and Austria -- an unforgettable trip. In 1988 George and I bought a couple of timeshare weeks, one of which we traded for a lovely vacation in England and Scotland with some friends. George died suddenly on February 15, 1991, just before he'd planned to retire. I had to change our plans to travel all over the world together. Instead of being with George, I traveled with good friends to Israel, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Morocco, the Czech Republic, Italy, Ukraine, Russia (where I was on September 11, 2001), Poland, and China. People ask me if I get material to write about from the countries I visit. I say no, I get material from the people I travel with.
I have realized my childhood dream of becoming a writer, and it is good. Most of my writing has been for young people. Back in 1990 I met sisters Carroll Morris and Nancy Anderson at a BYU Women's Conference. We struck up a friendship, and with their husbands' blessings they began to join me each year for a writers' retreat using my timeshare weeks. In 1998 we decided maybe we should try writing a book together. We weren't sure it would work out. But we started. The "book" expanded into three books. We sent a proposal to Deseret Book, and they accepted it.
That’s how our trilogy, The Company of Good Women, came to be. All three books, Almost Sisters, Three Tickets to Peoria, and Surprise Packages, have touched many readers.
I have truly enjoyed my life. I"ve loved every place I've lived, which includes Washington, D.C., where we spent a sabbatical. I've made lovely friends all over the country. All in all, I can wrap up my life with a quote I received in an e-mail. I don't know who wrote it, but this it sums up my attitude toward life:
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intentionof arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up,totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow!