A Favorite Author…Robert Michael Pyle

By Betty Trummel

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I love knowing more about authors of the books I read…their background, where they get their ideas for books, how they approach the writing process, and just discovering the personality of an author.

Throughout my years as an educator, I’ve had opportunities to meet quite a few authors… school assemblies, at National Geographic “Live” lectures, teacher workshops or conventions, and even randomly in bookshops.

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Any book takes on a whole new meaning when you can hear the author read their own words aloud.  I love hearing an author’s unique interpretation and expression…the inflection of their voice, and what is chosen to share in a reading.

Today was a wonderful opportunity to listen to author Robert “Bob” Michael Pyle read from his first fiction novel, “Magdalena Mountain.” Let me explain that this is not the first book written by Bob, in fact twenty-one nonfiction books have come before this one, but Magdalena Mountain is the first fiction novel Bob has ever published and it’s taken 44 years to  bring this project to fruition.

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He began writing Magdalena Mountain while a grad student at Yale, and much of the novel was written and revised right here on the balcony of the Meeker Park Lodge! In fact, Bob calls Mount Meeker “Magdalena Mountain,” after the Magdalena alpine butterfly found on the talus slopes of the mountain, and it’s where this novel gets its name.

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It’s inspirational to know that Bob never gave up on telling this story. Many drafts and revisions took place as Magdalena Mountain wound its way to being published. This is a good reminder to all writers out there…never give up!

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It was an absolute delight to be in Bob’s company, and even more so because we’ve been friends for about 30 years! His amazing skills as a naturalist and writer have long had a profound impact on me as an educator, naturalist, and writer. His vivid details about the natural world inspire and entertain readers of all ages. I’ve often quoted Bob when leading nature rambles, and as always I’m proud to call this incredible man my friend.

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What author would you most like to meet? Is it someone in the past or a person still with us? Actually, authors are always with us because they leave their mark with words…an indelible impression in our minds and hearts. Enjoy whatever book you’re currently reading…as for me, I’ve got a new one to read…

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