Weinheimer, Beckie 1958-

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Weinheimer, Beckie 1958-

PERSONAL:

Born 1958, in Murray, UT; married; children: two daughters. Education: Brigham Young University, B.S.; Attended University of California, Los Angeles; Vermont College, M.F.A. Hobbies and other interests: Traveling, watching movies, walking in the park, cleaning and listening to books.

ADDRESSES:

Home and office—Queens, NY. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Author.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Best Books nomination, American Library Association, 2007, for Converting Kate.

WRITINGS:

Converting Kate, Viking Children's Books (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Beckie Weinheimer fell in love with writing as a high-school student, although she did not consider it as a profession until the death of her first daughter. Realizing that writing gave her a sense of identity at a difficult time in her life, she took writing courses at the University of California, Los Angeles, then enrolled in Vermont College's M.F.A program. In an online interview for the Authors Den, Weinheimer commented that her goal as an author is "to connect with those people who are looking for someone to understand them." Recalling the feeling of being "understood by an author I never met" as a reader, she explained that "want[ing] people to feel less alone…. is my goal."

In her debut novel Converting Kate, Weinheimer relates a coming-of-age tale that explores the issues of religion and identity. Sixteen-year-old Kate Anderson has just lost her father and moved with her fanatically religious mother to a small town in Maine where they help Kate's aunt manage a bed-and-breakfast. The death of Kate's father, as well as her mother's reprohibition of a tradition a burial because of her extreme religious beliefs, causes the teen to question the faith she was raised with. Converting Kate follows Kate's journey as she breaks with the Holy Divine Church and discovers a new identity as she learns to think for herself. Calling Weinheimer's protagonist a "strong, self-reliant young woman, a Publishers Weekly contributor added that the teen's situation "will likely strike a chord with any teen who has struggled with a belief system that has been handed to them." A contributor to the Internet Bookwatch deemed Weinheimer's first novel "deftly written, inherently fascinating, consistently entertaining, thoughtful and thought-provoking reading." In Kliatt Claire Rosser concluded that the novelist writes with "compassion and intelligence," while a Children's Bookwatch online reviewer described Converting Kate as a "skillfully written novel that underscores the evolution of a compliant young girl into a self-reliant young woman."

In her Authors Den online interview, Weinheimer advised would-be writers: "Read. Write. Follow your passions. Follow that voice in your head no matter how strange and different it is, because that is your voice and that is what sells books!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of Converting Kate, p. 80.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Converting Kate, p. 311.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of Converting Kate, p. 130.

Kliatt, March, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Converting Kate, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2007, review of Converting Kate, p. 95.

School Library Journal, April, 2007, Joel Shoemaker, review of Converting Kate, p. 151.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2007, Caitlin Augusta, review of Converting Kate, p. 535.

ONLINE

Authors Den,http://www.authorsden.com/ (December 15, 2007), "Beckie Weinheimer."

Beckie Weinheimer Home Page,http://www.beckieweinheimer.org (December 15, 2007).

Children's Bookwatch,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (November 1, 2007), review of Converting Kate.

Good Reads,http://www.goodreads.com/ (December 15, 2007), "Beckie Weinheimer."

Internet Bookwatch,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (October 1, 2007), review of Converting Kate.