Nancy Julien Kopp

Published Work: The Lonely Dragon

Nancy is a graduate of Institute for Children’s Literature. View Course Catalog >

Welcome to the Winner’s Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Nancy Julien Kopp!

Book-Cover-Princess-and-DragonWhat is the name of your book or article? Who is the publisher?

The Lonely Dragon–read aloud stories published by Knowonder!

Nessa’s Celebrations–read aloud stories published by Knowonder!

Chicken Soup for the Soul–For Mom With Love published by Chicken Soup for the Soul

I have a story in each of the above books.

Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published.

I have always had a desire to write but let life get in the way. Finally, in my early 50s, I took the ICL course of Writing for Children and Teens. I had been a teacher in my 20s and still loved the thought of writing for middle grade kids. My first story was published in Guide magazine. I had several stories in magazines and ezines through the years and branched out into writing for ‘grown-up kids’ I’ve written and been published in creative nonfiction, memoir pieces, poetry and articles on the craft of writing. Once I got started, I kept right on writing and growing as a writer.

How long have you been writing?

Around 25 years

What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
Hard to choose a favorite but memoir is at the top of the list, stories that are aimed at both children and adults

Please list the course or courses you’ve taken with us.

Learning To Write For Children [Renamed as Writing for Children and Teens]

How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
It gave me the springboard I needed to have the self-confidence and courage, as well as the knowledge of how, to submit my work for publication. My ICL instructor told me in her final evaluation that I had the ability to write within and she had only helped bring it out. For which I am ever grateful!

Have any of your class assignments been published? If so, where and when?
Yes. A character sketch turned into a story that was published in The Christian Science Monitor.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?

I have two keywords that I repeat frequently in my blog for writers. They are ‘patience’ and ‘perseverance.’  Writers need both every day.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I would go back to my twenties and tell myself to get started writing immediately, not let other things in my life take precedence.

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.
The most valuable thing that I learned from The Institute of Children’s Literature is tenacity. I always keep in mind that the hours of text book reading, writing assignments, practice assignments, reading and analyzing classic literature will be rewarded with successful publication. It is imperative to be consistent and persistent.

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with us.
I learned from early lessons to the final ones that I could and would grow as a writer if I practiced the craft on a regular basis. I also learned to have enough self-confidence to begin submitting my work to publishers.

Have you ever written a middle grade novel?

Yes. My novel is historical fiction based on my own grandfather’s experience. He was taken from school at age 9 and sent to work in the coal mines of Iowa. He worked in mines all his life. The boy in my novel does everything he can to get out of the mine and back to school. The story is set in the late 1800’s. I have written several drafts and had promising remarks from publishers but no takers. Yet!

Nancy Julien Kopp writes in the Flint Hills of Kansas. She writes fiction stories for children, personal essays, memoir, poetry, articles on the craft of writing and short fiction for adults. She has been published in many magazines, ezines and anthologies, including 22 times in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She blogs about her writing world with tips and encouragement for writers at

1 Comment

  1. (Jan 1 2024) I just read Ms. Kopp’s post on the Field’s FB page, which I found extremely moving—it matched my memories! Yes, moving from the El right into the china department! The Walnut Room glory!

    I lived in Oak Park starting from mid-8th grade in 1956 until marrying and moving to western New York State in 1968. Mine was not a mere shopping or Christmastime association with Marshall Field & Co., but the work grind; it was my pleasure to be there to wallow in it thoroughly, with an employee discount as well. I had taken the long route through college, working at Field’s in the phonograph record department for seven years until I graduated from the School of the Art Institute with a BFA in art education—majoring in painting/art history. I consider the State Street store my true alma mater.

    It is amazing how MF&Co was far more than a place to buy stuff. I loved every delicious cubic inch of it whether they were all up-to-speed or not. It nourished my suffering young-adult soul and I ache every time I view photos of the now-lost mahogany counters on the main floor with which I became acquainted in early girlhood. LSS (as we now write because we are always in a hurry) I was delighted when asked to contribute the foreword to Gail Soucek’s book, “Marshall Field’s—the Store that Helped Build Chicago.” How wonderful to have an opportunity to share my memory of that inestimable treasure as it was during a golden era, now lost forever.

    Curiously, here in NYS no one knows of Marshall Field’s (?!). Apparently the Macy fog smothers the whole state. When I try to explain Field’s,, I am countered with assurance that this-or-that Fine Department Store out here is/was the bee’s knees. I can assure you, they are/were pathetic wana-bees. Indeed, there’s nothing like it back home— and we can’t go home again. Oh be still my heart! Thank you Ms. Kopp.

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