Kathleen Kull Urban
WRITING FOR ADULTS
My writing takes me on a journey to places I never imagined.
As a correspondent for two local newspapers, the Danville Times and Pleasanton Times, I wrote about people of prominence in the community in addition to local events. Several newspapers featured my articles on the front page. I've also been published in the San Ramon Valley Times, Contra Costa Times, Danville Today, Alamo Today, Danville Patch, San Ramon Patch, and Pleasanton Patch.
One of my favorite projects was working onthe award-winning California Fresh Harvest cookbook. I participated in the research and development, contributed recipes, set up test kitchens (I tested almost every recipe!), wrote sidebars, and copy edited the book. I’m a food lover and relished the opportunity to play a critical role in the publication of this book.
When I lived in the Philippines, I wrote numerous articles for Inklings magazine. After returning to the US, I was editor of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Write Around the Valley newsletter for two years.
Here are a few of the anthologies I’ve been published in (essays, poetry, photography, artwork) and some of my articles about people and organizations I’ve interviewed.
Voices of the Valley: Journeys (CWC Tri-Valley Branch 2018)
Rise (Las Positas College Anthology 2018)
Beyond the Window (Las Positas College Anthology 2017)
Sparks (Las Positas College Anthology 2016)
Voices of the Valley: Word for Word (CWC Tri-Valley Branch 2015)
Impressions (Las Positas College Anthology 2015)
Voices of the Valley: First Press (CWC Tri-Valley Branch 2011)
Sustainable Danville Area Celebrates First Anniversary (Danville Patch)
Winter Nights Shelter Provides More Than Housing to Homeless (Danville Patch)
Crab Feed and Chamber Installation Dinner in Alamo (Danville Patch)
Writing Workshop For Middle School Students (Danville Patch)
Alamo Community Emergency Response Team Seeking New Members (Danville Patch)
Bargains in Alamo (Danville Patch)
Family-run Viva Espresso Delivers Coffee and More to Alamo (Danville Patch)
Holiday Safety For Pets (Danville Patch)
Retired Navy Captain Pens Korean War Story (Danville Patch)
Danville-Alamo Garden Could Help Feed County's Hungry (Danville Patch)
Alamo Celebrates With Tree Lighting Celebration This Weekend (Danville Patch)
Give Your Old Bike a New Life For Someone in Need (Danville Patch)
Think Local For Holiday Shopping (Danville Patch)
Life After Yellow Wood (Danville Patch)
Sustainable Danville Area Aims to Create Bike-Friendly Downtown, Reduce Water Use (Danville Patch)
Pleasanton's Poet Laureate Has a Full List of Events Planned (Pleasanton Patch)
Seward Johnson Sculptures are the Talk of Pleasanton (Pleasanton Patch)
Twenty-Six Days Away (AWE: Part II) (Danville Patch)
CERT Prepares Residents for Emergencies (San Ramon Patch)
San Ramon Schools Celebrate National Poetry Month (San Ramon Patch)
Twenty-Six Days Away on AWE (Part I) (Danville Patch)
Humanitarian Spring Break Part II: Danville Teen and Her Family Find Medical Need is Greater Than Expected (Danville Patch)
Twenty-six day Wilderness Experience Challenges Athenian Students to the Max (Danville Patch)
Community Service Leads to Soaring Eagles Recognition (Danville Patch)
Project Second Chance Brings Hope to English-challenged Adults (San Ramon Patch)
Winners of the Student Recognition Project Announced (San Ramon Patch)
Student Recognition Project Showcases a Wide Variety of Talents (San Ramon Patch)
Humanitarian Spring Break: Danville Teen to Bring Hope to Guatemala (Danville Patch)
Monte Vista High's Spring Fling Fundraiser Tonight Is Essential for Music Program (Danville Patch)
Green Valley Students Give Back Through Book Drive (Danville Patch)
Danville Schools Celebrate Dr Seuss' Birthday and National Read Across America Day (Danville Patch)
Greenbrook Elementary Students Publish Poems to Benefit Haiti (Danville Patch)
Athenian school chief says goodbye (San Ramon Valley Times)
Kids’ museum nearer to reality (Danville Times)
Literacy program gives adults a chance (Danville Times)
Awareness key to holiday safety (Cover story: Danville Times and Pleasanton Times)
Shoppers can turn to library for help (Danville Times)
Poet laureate presents open mic (Cover story: Danville Times and Pleasanton Times)
Athenian students unite to fight genocide (Danville Times)
Stay safe online, officer says (Danville Times)
Navy reservist uses skills to help Iraqis (Danville Times)
Writer happily shares secrets of success (Danville Times)
Plenty of flu vaccine available (Danville Times and Pleasanton Times)
Team walk raises vital funds for research (Pleasanton Times)
CERT prepares all for crises (Cover story: Danville Times and Pleasanton Times)
Website a bustling community resource (Danville Times)
Instructor up for another award (Danville Times)
Passions blend to create a winery (Cover story: Danville Times)
Hot Summer Nights a vintage success (Danville Times)
Gear up for National Night Out (Danville Times and Pleasanton Times)
I’m most passionate about writing books and articles for children, but I also do freelance writing and editing. In my spare time I enjoy quilting, tutoring ESL adults through Project Second Chance, and fostering puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
I grew up in a family of seven in a small house. Elementary school was all about playing with friends, going on the swings, riding my bicycle, and getting dirty. Verydirty. I was a tomboy! There was never a tree I didn’t want to climb. Although I wasn’t crazy about elementary school, Mom instilled in me the importance of a good education. It was the best gift she could give me.
I graduated from Montclair State College with a Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics Education. I always wanted to be a teacher but got sidetracked along the way when I was offered an internship at Forecast Magazine. I couldn’t possibly turn down the opportunity to write for a prominent home economics journal in New York City! It was a great experience.
After my work at Forecast Magazine, I graduated from Purdue University with a Master of Science in Consumer Sciences and Retailing. I held a variety of sales positions before pursuing a career with IBM as a systems engineer and a marketing programs specialist.
Meeting my husband and dreaming of new adventures took our family to the Philippines. Our oldest daughter was two years old, and her sister was born in the Philippines. Our family fell in love with the country and the wonderful Filipino people. It was an unforgettable life experience.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD
In 2017, the San Francisco North and East Bay region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) presented me with the Outstanding Volunteer Award. As the manuscript coordinator for their Oktoberfest Conference, my job more than doubled in size from 60 manuscript submissions to over 120. Because of this exponential growth, I streamlined the process of working with editors and agents to complete the critiques, and I’ve moved the process from paper to online.
In 2018, I volunteered as website co-coordinator. My SCBWI region has grown considerably and now has over 40 annual events. My new position entails posting events and keeping the website up to date.
JACK LONDON SERVICE AWARD
I’ve been a member of the California Writers Club (CWC) for many years, and in 2009 celebrated their Centennial. At the annual meeting I received the prestigious Jack London Award for exemplary service to the Tri-Valley Branch. I was honored to receive the award after serving as Tri-Valley's president, treasurer, and newsletter editor, in addition to being the statewide CWC treasurer and the Central Board representative.
TOP TEN FAVORITE THINGS
1.Spending time with my family
2.Celebrating birthdays and special occasions with friends
4.Reading a good book
5.Having a romantic dinner with my husband
7.Baking outrageously delicious cookies and cakes
8.Raising puppies and fostering dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind
9.Quilting, crafting, and doing handwork
10.Walking my fur babies with friends and their dogs
WRITING FOR KIDS
My recent and forthcoming publications include articles, features, crafts, poems, games, and activities in:
Highlights for Children
Humpty Dumpty Magazine
Voices of the Valley: First Press
Voices of the Valley: Encore
WHAT I WRITE FOR KIDS
When I moved back to the United States, a friend was writing children’s books. She suggested that I write multicultural ones. My children loved bedtime stories and would beg me to read multiple books, asking for “just one more story.” It was hard getting them to sleep, so I started weaving stories about our overseas adventures.
I also enjoy writing poetry. Funny and silly and wacky words! Then it grew into games, crafts and activities during my years as a Girl Scout leader for two troops. Spending my summers outdoors as a camp counselor gave me a newfound appreciation for all kinds of critters…. And the opportunity to write about them. There’s never a shortage of ideas!
I’m working on a nonfiction children’s book about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a fiction story with animals (a favorite topic of mine!), and a middle grade adventure set in the Philippines.
When I’m not writing books or articles, I enjoy dabbling in children’s poetry. Sharing the humorous side of life is always fun.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How did you start writing for children?
I have a friend who writes picture books. When I returned to the U.S. after living in the Philippines, she told me that editors were looking for multicultural stories. I started writing about the Philippines so I could share my memories of this fascinating country and the beautiful Filipino people.
Where do you get your story ideas?
They come from all kinds of places. Sometimes my children are the inspiration, or kids in the classroom or at the park. I also get ideas from the newspaper, friends, books I read, and funny things my pets do. I have an abundance of ideas but not enough time to write about all of them.
How long does it take to write a children’s book?
It depends upon the book. Picture books are short but every word has to count. After the story is written, then I put it aside for a while and come back to it a month or two later to revise the story. When I write nonfiction, it takes much longer. Sometimes I’m doing research for six months or a year before I start writing.
What else do you write for children?
After working on a book for a long time, I like to take a break and write poetry. It’s fun and bouncy, and I can be silly with words.
I also like to design games, activities and crafts for children.
Do you write every day?
I would like to, but other responsibilities get in the way. I try to write at least five days a week. I find that the more often I write, the easier it is.
What advice do you have for a new writer trying to get published?
Read as much as you can in the genre you want to publish in. It’s important to know what’s out there and to see how others have mastered the craft.
RECOMMENDED BOOKS FOR CHILDREN'S WRITERS
The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books by James Cross Giblin
Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market by Alice Pope
The Business of Writing for Children: An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids by Aaron Shepard
The ABCs of Writing for Children by Elizabeth Koehler Pentacoff
You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey E. Dills
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple by Martha Alderson
How I Write by Janet Evanovich