If you enjoy the stories of a brave adventuress in the wilderness or learning about how to care for aging parents, Sandy Benson is the writer for you. She is a forester with a solid background in journalism. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Northern Arizona University; postgraduate work in English, business, and journalism; a Master’s degree in Organizational Management (Natural Resources) from Chadron State College in Nebraska; and an honorary degree from the School of Hard Knocks, on campuses across the American west and high plains.
From the mid-1970s through 2018, she worked forestry jobs in Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska while moonlighting as a reporter, editor, publisher, and freelance non-fiction writer. Numerous newspapers and magazines have published her articles, and she received several awards from the Nebraska Press Women.
Sandy and her husband, Barry, relocated in 2018 to Warne, North Carolina, where they live with their two bossy dachshunds, Agnes and Olive. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, and gardening, and she is an avid reader and history buff.
In 2021 she published her first book, My Mother’s Keeper: One Family’s Journey Through Dementia, a memoir depicting the trauma and trials her family encountered during her parents’ later years. She wrote it with the hope that her experiences would help other families finding themselves unexpectedly dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Sandy worked remotely for the Nebraska Forest Service until she retired in 2023. She loves retirement but is busier than ever. In addition to kickstarting her writing career, she tells tales at local storyteller gatherings and writes publicity releases for the Peacock Performing Arts Center in Hayesville.
She is currently focusing on publishing her father’s letters home during his military service as an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II. During that time, he shared many memorable experiences, including spending a day observing the Nuremberg Trials. The book, Dear Folks, will be released in early 2024.
Sandy’s presentation will take place Wednesday, October 11, at 10:30 in the Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, N.C. The event is free and open to the public. An open mike will follow the presentation. Bring a poem or short prose piece of about three minutes to participate. Coffee With the Pets and Writers is sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network West which also includes writers in Towns, Union, Fannin and Rabun Counties in Georgia. Please do not park in the Book Store Parking lot.