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Writing for charity
Local meteorologist pens a kids book

10/26/17



How did you end up where you are now in your career as a meteorologist?
I started out in radio broadcasting, doing both radio promotions as well as on-air morning show work. I worked a little bit in Boston and then I came up and helped establish a couple different radio stations here in New Hampshire, working at a station on Hampton Beach and another station up in Dover, New Hampshire. And I did that close to 10 years. At that point, after doing all sorts of interesting things and stunts and events on the radio, I got to the point where I wanted to pursue my other interest that I had had since third grade, which was meteorology. So I went back a second time to college and studied meteorology for three or four years until I finished the program and that’s how I branched into it and figured I would combine my two loves — broadcasting and meteorology. Then I worked my way up and got the job at WMUR and I’ve been there now for pretty much all of the 2000s.
 
Can you tell me about the project you’re working on now? Can you describe the book itself and its origin story?
It goes back to last Christmas. I wrote a quick poem — I love writing poems — I wrote a poem about myself at the TV station on Christmas Eve, looking for snow. And I posted it on Facebook and it was kind of a mixture between ’Twas The Night Before Christmas and Dr. Seuss’ style. And I put it on Facebook and got an amazing response and started having an awful lot of people telling me that I needed to both put that on TV and then that morphed to, ‘You need to publish this as a book.’ At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. … Then I thought to myself, ‘Well, it’s a children’s book. … If I’m going to do this, what if I did it as a way to benefit children.’ So I thought of one of my favorite charities, CHaD … and I thought ‘Well, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right and I’m going to publish the book and give all the profits to CHaD.’ And that’s what gave me all the motivation to do all the work that was necessary. And it’s been a lot of work.
 
And you partnered with an illustrator to create the imagery in the book?
Yes. About seven years ago, back in 2010, I published a book on extreme weather in New England. And when I was doing that book tour, I met a lady in the Peterborough, New Hampshire, area, who was a book illustrator and we struck up a conversation and have remained in contact with each other ever since. So when I decided to do this book, I instantly knew that I needed her to be the one to illustrate it. Her name is Ginger Nielsen ... and she does excellent work illustrating children’s books. When I told her about the project, she got excited to be a part of it and was very generous with her time for this charity project. 
 
I understand there are some New Hampshire references throughout the book. Can you name a few?
Sure. You’ll definitely recognize the TV station that I’m working at and some of the people that are illustrated in the book, as well as you might see me on top of a very high New Hampshire mountain.
 
When will it be released and how much is the book retailing for?
The price of the book is going to be $19.95. I am self-funding it myself, because I believe in the project that much. … The release date will be on Nov. 4. … And we’re going to be doing that at Barnes & Noble in Manchester at 1 p.m. I’ve also got my co-workers from the Stormwatch 9 weather team … [coming] with me. 
— Ryan Lessard 





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