Waverly native concentrates on writing career
Sunday, March 25, 2007 12:22:00 PM
by Tina Field Howe
|Ingram description: The Field Folk thought they and the savage Trailmen were the only people to inhabit their war-torn world. They were wrong. Folk girl Alysa risks all to unveil long-hidden truths, heal ancient hatreds, and save her people from peril.
By Lisa Howeler, The Morning Times, Sayre PA
CORNING - Tina Field Howe refused to believe the common belief that there is no real career opportunities for artists.
As a student at Waverly High she was involved in the art club and band and knew she wanted a future involving something creative.
Now living in Corning, Howe has defied all odds and is, in fact, making a living not only as an artist, but as an author.
Howe graduated from Waverly in 1977, later earned an anthropology degree, trying her hand at archeology for awhile and eventually she became what she always wanted to be - an artist making a living. She is the daughter of Betty and Jesse Howe of Waverly.
She worked at Corning Inc. for 15 years before her job was eliminated in 1995. Now she is still working for Corning, but this time as a freelance graphic designer, who designs web sites, brochures, and other materials for the Fortune 500 company, as well as writes for them. Additionally, she designs signs and other promotional materials for the Gaffer District in Corning, which is the city's business district. She is one of the lucky people who is able to work from home.
Howe has now written her first novel, called “Alyssa of the Fields.” Her own illustration dons the front of the book and features an image of her niece, Kaitlyn Hatch, a student at Athens Area High School, who Howe says is a prolific writer in her own right.
Howe has also written and illustrated a children's book called “Snailsworth: A Slow Little Story.”
Howe thought of Kaitlyn because she was around the same age as the main character in Howe's novel. The novel focuses on the growing pains of a young girl and is set in a fantasy world that Howe created. Even though the focus is a young woman, the novel also features strong male characters and older women, said Howe.
Howe will be holding a book signing for “Alyssa of the Fields” at the Jivin' Java on Broad Street in Waverly from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. March 3. Kaitlyn will also be at the signing. In addition, Howe will be featured on “Off the Page” with Bill Jaker on WSKG public radio on March 6.
“I think my own growing pains were the inspiration for this book,” said Howe. “I was raised in a traditional household where we were told not to make waves and don't be a show off.”
The story in “Alyssa of the Fields” is about Alyssa struggling against tradition. Her parents have a very strict tradition and she breaks out of the traditional role. At first she suffers hardship for her decision to change, but later she saves her people.
“And a lot of secrets come out,” said Howe.
The story is also about the challenges of life and about taking a chance. Kendra, is a mother figure for Alyssa in the book and teaches her “how to hold her own,” said Howe.
Howe said she wrote the beginning and the end of the book first and then filled in the middle. She didn't realize at first that the idea for the book paralleled her own life, at least in some fashion, as a teen-ager, until it was completed, she said.
“I see this as a book about growth and being authentic, living with passion, living from your heart, doing what you have to do even though you don't know why at the time,” she added.
Howe said this book came from the heart and that she “just had to write it” even though she isn't sure why right now.
She has already begun to work on a sequel to the book, but does not yet have a release date for it.
Howe relied on various friends and acquaintances to help her tighten the story for the book and it was a young reader who told her something was missing.
“Someone found a hole,” said Howe. “She found I just left a gap in time. It turned out to be ‘the kiss' and it was a pivotal scene.”
When it came to a front cover for the book, Howe said she wanted a personal quality to it and immediately thought of Kaitlyn as a model.
It was Kaitlyn who struck the pose that became the illustration.
“I had her do all this other stuff and it just didn't work and then she just struck this pose and - that was it,” said Howe. “I'm going to use her for book two and I'll do the same thing, let her pick some poses like before.”
While Howe feels she was a type of model for Alyssa's personality, she points to her own little sister Larissa as the inspiration for Alyssa's little sister in the book.
“We are really close to this day,” said Howe.
Howe's son Matthew, 19, is now following his mother in her footsteps, moving into a creative field by attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for gaming design and development.
Howe is pleased her son has been encouraged to try his hand at a creative field and she also hopes other young people will realize that they too can pursue their dreams of a career in art. She currently makes presentations at area schools, telling students about her career and the dreams she has realized.
“I tell them they can do stuff over the Internet even now,” she said. “I can live in any city in the world and still work for Corning.”
More information about Howe, her work and her books can be found at www.tinafieldhowe.com. Her book can be purchased from the site and picked up at Jivin' Java after March 3. It can also be purchased on BarnesandNoble.com.
Alysa of the Fields