Artist and Writer
Wordsmith and Collage Artist Laurie Parker, author of popular rhyming favorites such as Mississippi Alphabet, Louisiana Alphabet,
The Turtle Saver, It Really Said Christmas and
A for Angels, is excited to announce that in 2013 she has released
HER FIRST NOVEL:
THE MATCHSTICK CROSS
After releasing thirteen children’s books and witnessing a recent and growing trend of people not wanting to read even the amount of text in them, Parker decided to rebel against the dumbing-down of society by writing something that takes even MORE effort to read. Crazy, huh?
Laurie Parker and Wordsworth, February 2011
AUTHOR BIO (Official : )
DID YOU KNOW?
Most Mississippians are more familiar with Laurie’s books than her other artwork. However, she was supporting herself by making and selling the pins you see below and on cards in the picture on the right for four years before the release of her first book!
The pins are made through a COLLAGE process—CUTTING WITH SCISSORS AND GLUING—and this is the same way Laurie creates the illustrations for her books. An epoxy coat makes these lightweight pins look like enamel!
Besides CREATING, here are a few
of the author’s favorite things:
Click here to see some shots of
the author’s own backyard garden!
Other Favorite Pastimes: junking (enjoys turning trash to treasure!!)
Favorite Food: ALL vegetables, OLIVES (especially jalapeno-stuffed), pizza, fish and hushpuppies, seafood—all shellfish...
And she is a SWEET TEA addict!!
Favorite Dessert: GUMMI BEARS!
Favorite TV Show : All-time favorite is
ANDY GRIFFITH, hands down; she has seen every episode probably over 200 times, quotes from it all the time and gives obscure show characters photo credits in her books! Also likes “Seinfeld,”
“I Love Lucy,” “Leave it to Beaver”
Favorite Artist or Band: Can’t pick just one—
Loves 70’s music. Also: U2, The Who, Tears for Fears, Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac, The Sundays, The Shins,
Innocence Mission, Ray LaMontagne, and Coldplay
are just a few artists she likes.
Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption (nothing holds a candle to it). Also: Splendor in the Grass, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Ghost. Adores Back to the Future (but NOT the horrible sequels). As a child her favorite movie was Planet of the Apes !
(which she still enjoys!)
Favorite Book: Laurie likes reading metaphysical works and her favorite author in that genre is Thomas Hora. She likes the writing styles of both Sam Keen and Frederick Buechner as well. Her favorite book from a literature standpoint? Can’t pick just one—A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, John Fowles’ The Collector and Willie Morris’s My Dog Skip are high on her list.
Madeline L’engle, Zylpha Keatley Snyder
and C.S. Lewis are her favorite children’s authors.
Other things Laurie likes: Cats and kittens, poetry, picnics, antiques, rainy days, trees, animals, old books, birds, libraries, hot baths and BIG bathtubs, gardening magazines, interior decorating magazines (Southern Accents was her fav), word games/word puzzles, driving out in the country, the smell of honeysuckle, wisteria and fresh-mown grass, Provence/the south of France…
Dislikes: colored “Andy Griffith” episodes—(especially with Howard Sprague!), people talking/texting on their cell phones constantly, people’s addictions to and obsessions with technology...Facebook...Twitter, pork chops (YUK!!!), chicken-fried anything (YUK!), contemporary decorating, rap music (oxymoron), the high-speed decline of good grammar and the rampant misuses on TV ( news, commercials)—there are dangling participles everywhere!
has collected inspirational quotes
since she was 25-years-old.
Click on the turtle picture below
(from her book The Turtle Saver)
to go to a site that showcases
some of the words that inspire
the poet and artist...
BOOKS BY LAURIE PARKER
Everywhere in Mississippi (Quail Ridge Press, 1996)
All Over Alabama (Quail Ridge Press, 1997)
Mississippi Alphabet (Quail Ridge Press, 1998)
Texas Alphabet (Quail Ridge Press, 2000)
Louisiana Alphabet (Quail Ridge Press, 2001)
The Turtle Saver (Quail Ridge Press, 2002)
It Really Said Christmas (Laurie Parker, 2003)
Mad for Maroon (Laurie Parker, 2004, out-of-print)
Tales of the Good Life (Laurie Parker, 2005)
A for Angels (Parker, 2007; Quail Ridge re-release 2010)
The Sweet Dreams Book (Laurie Parker, 2009)
Everywhere in Mississippi (Laurie Parker, 2012)
The Matchstick Cross, a novel (Laurie Parker, 2013)
The artist explains at a book talk in April 2007
how she creates her original collages, which
are the same size as they appear in her books.
The lyrical cadence of Laurie Parker’s metered rhyme lent itself well to her 2009 release,
The Sweet Dreams Book, which makes a sweet baby gift with its lullaby–like sentiment.
Little Jones Edward Skaggs (below) agrees!!
Laurie Parker didn’t really have to leave her hometown of Starkville to promote her 2004 release, Mad for Maroon.
The first printing sold out in 3 months! At left, Laurie enjoys a visit from a very special fan during her September 2004 signing at The Lodge in Starkville!
Mad for Maroon ends with the following RHYMED lines:
If you didn’t smile big while reading all this,
Then you must be someone who roots for _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
Sadly, due to collegiate licensing requirements which are a hassle, as of 2008, Mad for Maroon is out of print. : (
Here are some book report-friendly FUN FACTS
ABOUT LAURIE PARKER’S BOOKS:
Everywhere in Mississippi, Laurie Parker’s first book, is based on a premise that came to Laurie while she was in the BATHTUB in 1995! She knew as the water was going down the drain that the book would rhyme, would be about a lost dog named Skippy, and that the story would incorporate Mississippi town names in the owner’s wild and wacky statewide search!
Then, lo and behold, in 2001, it happened again, when the concept for
The Turtle Saver also came to the writer while she was taking a soak!
The Turtle Saver received an endorsement from Jack Canfield,
author of The Chicken Soup for the Soul series!
Laurie Parker’s VERY first book signing ever—for Everywhere in Mississippi—
was on September 27th, 1996 at GAYFERS in Northpark Mall, Jackson, MS!
She also had her very first TV interview that same day—with WJTV in Jackson.
Laurie Parker had never even been to Texas before she released
Texas Alphabet in 2000. To this day, the book has sold over 25,000 copies.
The BIGGEST book signing Laurie ever had was in November of 1998. She was signing Mississippi Alphabet at Mistletoe Marketplace. The store who hosted her for 3 days, The Inside Story, sold 975 copies! And no, Laurie is not rich! The store and her publisher split the proceeds and she got a royalty—which was about 80 cents per book sold! Many people think that because they see Laurie’s books in stores that she makes a LOT of money as a children’s book author. It just doesn’t work that way! There are very few rich children’s book authors, and one has to go national to achieve that. Laurie is just a small-scale, regional author!
2009’s The Sweet Dreams Book is the first book into which Laurie incorporated hidden pictures. She had so much fun doing it, that she used hidden pictures extensively in her 2011 Garden Alphabet book.
Laurie Parker does NOT do school visits. Laurie GREATLY appreciates that teachers use her books in the classroom, but there are more schools in Mississippi than there are days in the year and she gets hundreds of requests a year. She would have to accept all invitations if she accepted one invitation, and she would not be able to keep being an artist if she became a full-time speaker! Teachers are called to teach ... Laurie’s part of herself that she has given, her GIFT, is the books she creates...her calling is that of ARTIST and WRITER...
Laurie with a REAL turtle that SHE saved while on her
Spring 2002 Turtle Saver Book Tour!!
Laurie Parker’s Artist/ Writer
Click on the image of the book for list of stores, info for retailers, and
In 2004, New York City-based Interior Designer Celia Friday returns home to Mississippi to clear out a storage unit of items from her deceased mother’s attic. Accompanying her on the trip is Huey LaFleur, her best friend and business partner who has never been to the Deep South. Recollections from her life in NYC, where she has often faced comments made by “Yankees” about her state’s racist past, are juxtaposed with flashbacks to her high school days as the only white on an otherwise all-black girl’s basketball team. Humorous anecdotes of her hapless dating life, accounts of harrowing childhood experiences in a church where she struggled with bullying and proselytism, hilarious hometown characters, seventies nostalgia, huge secrets kept, heartbreak, and a hint of the mystical are masterfully woven in a life-story that is sure to make the reader laugh, cry, remember when...and wonder.
See what people are saying about it @The Matchstick Cross on Facebook
The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works