July 23rd, 2014

Interview with Local Author Cathy Gohlke

Saving-AmelieLast summer, we had a Local Author’s Day at the Elkton Central Library and we were lucky enough that Cathy Gohlke was able to share some of her books with us. If you missed your chance last year, she’s back with her newest book, Saving Amelie, which just came out in June.

Cathy has published five historical and inspirational novels. Saving Amelie takes place in Germany in 1939. The book follows the story of Rachel Kramer, the daughter of a well-known eugenics scientist. During her father’s business trip to Germany, she makes a few discoveries of her own and is forced into hiding, even though she is an American citizen.

With The Book Thief just released on DVD and a movie based on Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken coming out later this year, stories about World War II are finding renewed popularity at the library. I’ve added Saving Amelie to my “to-read” list and in light of her upcoming visits to the Cecil County Public Library, I had the opportunity to ask Cathy a few questions.

Your newest book Saving Amelie just came out in June. When did you start working on this project?
In the spring of 2012, after completing Band of Sisters.

Your books are set in different places in the past. Is there a specific time and place that you wish you could live?
I’d love to live (at least temporarily) in England during the early 1900s, before the Great War.  It was the world of my great-grandparents, and of my grandmother as a child—a world she shared through words and mannerisms throughout my young life.  That is the world of Promise Me This.

What books have you been reading this summer? Are there certain authors that you look to for inspiration?
I just returned from a research trip to England with sister author, Carrie Turansky, and from a group tour of Scotland’s Highland Castles and Gardens led by sister author Liz Curtis Higgs, so I’ve immersed myself in books about England, the Lake District, Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth, the poetry of Robert Burns, as well as Liz Curtis Higgs’ books.  In stark contrast I’m reading The Nuremberg Mind—The Psychology of the Nazi Leaders, by Florence R. Miale and Michel Selzer as research for my work in progress.

I’m daily inspired by the writings of Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, and lately by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, and Corrie Ten Boom’s Each New Day.  I love it when authors, such as these, challenge my thinking and lift it higher.

When you are not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
When not writing, I spend most of my time caring for my sweet granddaughter while her parents work.  This fall we’ll all be moving into a house together. I couldn’t help but hum “The Walton’s” theme song after visiting the house for the first time!

I love to travel and investigate sites that time forgot—places that whisper story lines through my brain.  I love campfires at night and singing around the piano, spending time with my husband and family and friends, joining in worship services, and reading.  I used to garden a great deal, but these days I’m mostly planting synopses, pruning dialogue and weeding unnecessary verbiage.

Sign up for this opportunity to meet this award-winning local author at 3 library branches. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Chesapeake City — August 4th @ 6:30pm
Elkton – August 7th @ 6:30pm
Rising Sun – August 12th @ 6:30pm

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July 2nd, 2014

What Did Benjamin Franklin Invent?

benfranklinDear Librarian:  What did Benjamin Franklin invent?

Dear Reader: As the birthday of our nation draws near, our thoughts turn to the patriots who helped to create the United States and their stories. Benjamin Franklin is a larger-than-life figure, a founding father who is sometimes referred to as the “First American.” Benjamin Franklin, a politician, writer, scientist, inventor, diplomat and humorist was a gentleman that epitomized the American character.

Born the 15th of 17 children in 1706, Benjamin Franklin was not a formally educated man. He taught himself to read and write, and learned the printing trade as an apprentice to his brother. Through the coming years, he would hone his trade and become a well-respected and ambitious businessman and writer. He set up a printing shop in Philadelphia, and bought, published, and wrote for “The Philadelphia Gazette.” The paper became a huge success and was the first paper to include political cartoons, also written by Franklin. He also published “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” writing under the pseudonym of “Richard Saunders.” His writing was witty and entertaining. Many of the Benjamin Franklin quotes we know today come from “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” for instance: “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

He eventually turned his attentions to science experiments and inventions. He developed the “Franklin Stove” to help heat homes more efficiently. He also invented swim fins, the glass armonica (a musical instrument) and bifocals. He became internationally famous from his experiments with electricity. In order to prove that there was electricity in lightning, he completed his famous kite experiment. Benjamin Franklin tied a scarf between two crossed wooden kites, attached a key to the end of a long silken thread hanging from the kites, and waited for a thunderstorm. The rain was an excellent conductor, and the charge traveled down to the key. When Franklin touched his hand to the key he received a shock, thus proving that there was electricity in the sky. He was wise enough to attach a ground wire to his key ensuring he was not electrocuted. Through his experiments with electricity he developed many new words and concepts about electricity, including negative and positive charges, conductors, and batteries.  Considered his most important invention, Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod, which was placed atop Christ Church in Philadelphia. He charted the Gulf Stream while traveling back and forth across the Atlantic, established the concept of high and low pressure, and proposed the use of daylight savings time. Benjamin Franklin never stopped inventing and he never requested patents on any of his inventions. He considered them gifts to the public.

As our country was evolving, he was also a revered and respected statesman–his legacy to our fledgling new republic. A man of many talents and much wisdom, Benjamin Franklin believed that all men could benefit from self-improvement and that with hard work and thriftiness, all men could achieve greatness.  Benjamin Franklin was truly an inventor, not only of things but of ideas and concepts.  He was an amazing gentleman.

To learn more about Franklin, check out our selection of books, biographies, videos and more.

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