|You could say that Han Nolan danced her way into writing books--and you'd be exactly right! Han always thought that writing would be something she'd do after she retired from dance. She earned both a B.S. as well as a Master's in Dance, and loved every minute of it. Han says that she's always written stories even though dancing took quite a lot of her time. As a young girl, her first love was poetry. She spent hours reading R.L. Stevenson's A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES, Lori Lenski's THE LIFE I LIVE, and A.A. Milne's NOW WE ARE SIX. She says that the first books that really got her reading were the Nancy Drew series, HARRIET THE SPY, A WRINKLE IN TIME, and FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER. As she grew older, she loved Charles Dickens. When she attended college, she took a Children's Literature course and was introduced to Katherine Paterson's work, which she also admired. Han says that all the books she read--particularly her favorite books--took her away from reality and showed her worlds of imagination. She decided to leave the dancing world to raise a family, and that's when she started writing again. Han believes that the art of creating in both dance and writing is one in the same--they both require discipline and persistence. Han loves to write for teens because she thinks that those years are the hardest for most kids, but there's a lot of growth and self-discovery that happens, too. Han has won several awards including the 1997 National Book Award for Young People's Literature Award for her book, DANCING ON THE EDGE. Her novel, SEND ME DOWN A MIRACLE, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Before Han's books were published, two of her books were rejected, but she kept trying. That's why Han has four important steps that she thinks young aspiring writers should know: 1.) Write from the heart, 2.) Write the truth, 3.) Learn from your craft, and finally, 4.) Keep writing and never give up!