Welcome to the first author interview here at Three Show Saturday!
A portion of this interview appeared in this week’s newspaper column. The full interview is printed below.
Belinda Jensen, author and creator of the Bel the Weather Girl series, is also chief meteorologist for the NBC station in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Ms. Jensen has been a broadcast meteorologist for twenty-six years, but is just beginning her career as an author. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing, and life as a meteorologist.
How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?
These are my first books, I started writing them August of 2014 and wrapped up the following spring.
Where do you find your writing inspiration?
My inspiration for writing came from numerous 2nd graders that I spoke to over the years. I have been a meteorologist for 25 years and I have spoken to countless 7 and 8 year olds and their curiosity and anxiety toward the weather fueled these books.
What inspired you to write A PARTY FOR CLOUDS?
All of the books the entire set of six stemmed from stories that I told the students that seemed to resonate and ignite them into understanding the science behind the weather. A Party for Clouds was created for all of those boys and girls and parents that have sleepless nights because of loud, scary thunderstorms. This book explains how simply counting will explain the science behind thunder and lightning but also ends up to be a great distraction that could get you through the night.
What is your favorite kind of weather?
My favorite kind of weather is sunny, mild day with low humidity. Nothing better!
What was your most memorable moment while broadcasting?
My most memorable moment during my broadcast career so far is probably not a moment, it is a season! Two winters ago the winter of 2013-2014. It was the coldest winter in 35 years and that is saying quite a bit in Minnesota. It was remarkably cold and snowy and I will never forget it! P.S. I do the weather outside every night at my station….every night!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian, florist of social studies teacher. Meteorology did not break through as a possibility until around 10th grade.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I have to be honest I was a terrible reader and still don’t read a lot! I was more of analytical mind for numbers…..but I do remember distinctly “Where the Red Fern Grows” and “Charlotte’s Web”
Who has most inspired you in your career?
Many people have inspired me over the years but I had a great teacher back in high school that really set me off with some great expectations. Mr. Dan Gavin, and a great meteorologist here at KARE 11 who I interned for in college Paul Douglas were my mentors.
What do you feel is the most rewarding aspect of being a meteorologist?
Weather is big deal around this neck of the woods. I have been at this station for 23 years so how this community owns you and feels like you are part of their family is really rewarding.
What advice would you give to young writers?
To young writers I would tell them to follow their passions and if those are science that is FABULOUS, because the job opportunities in science are great. Learning and writing about anything that they are curious about will fuel these ideas and options.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
I love skiing, diving, tennis, paddleboarding, and now I am trying wake surfing with my kids. We try to enjoy the warm months and soak them in as much as we can as a family.
What is the most interesting place you have visited?
Probably Utah, it is an amazing state with so much to explore. I lived there for 4 years and my parents spend the winter there and I love visiting them. I have so much more to explore and I look forward to doing that with my kids.
Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing
I love being a nerd. I love facts, I love maps, and charts. I could look at them forever.
Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
I am excited to set out on this new adventure of writing books and I hope that kids like them and they help them understand and be less anxious about the weather. Once you understand it, it is not nearly as scary.