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Linda DeFeudis: Finding inspiration in family, feelings and both kinds of letters

by Christine Galeone

When Linda DeFeudis was growing up as the second youngest – along with her twin sister – of nine children in their family, one of her older brothers went away to college. That inspired her dad, an Italian immigrant, to create a fun contest for his younger children (including 8-year-old Linda). They were asked to write letters to their brother, and the child who wrote the best letter would win a dollar.

“That’s where I think it started…” DeFeudis said of her love of writing. She added, “English was my favorite subject. I just always liked English and writing.”

While that love of writing remained in her life throughout her careers as a kindergarten teacher, a substitute teacher and a literacy tutor, it wasn’t until a couple of years after she retired in 2014 that she became a self-published author. The Sutton resident’s latest book “Y the Sometimes Vowel – A Story about the Letter Y” is part of a series of children’s picture books about the alphabet.   

Although DeFeudis didn’t become an author until after she retired, she has written poetry since she was in her early teens. “I used to just write poetry for myself,” she said. “It’s therapeutic.”

She began sharing her poetry with the world after joining the Sutton Writing Group. The first book she self-published is “Life is Beautiful – Poems of Survival after Cancer.” She wrote it after her own battle with cancer, but she might not have published it if she hadn’t joined the group. DeFeudis explained, “Lisa Shea is the head of it, and she inspires everyone to get published.”

As with the poetry compilation, she also might not have published her latest children’s book and the other two in the series – which focus on vowels and consonants – if it weren’t for the encouragement she received in the writing group. The children’s books began as lesson plans from her years spent tutoring. When she didn’t have any new writing to share with the group, she brought the lesson plans, and she was persuaded to turn them into children’s books.

And DeFeudis, who also loves creating beautiful, colorful (often sentimental) works of art and doing crossword puzzles, is still as inspired by her family to write as she was when she was 8-years-old. In addition to writing heartfelt epic poems for family members on some milestone occasions, she contributed four poems and one essay to the Sutton Writing Group’s latest anthology of poetry, stories and essays. “Family Matters” is the fourth anthology the group has published, and DeFeudis has had work published in all of them. She hopes to contribute to future compilations as well. “I have to be inspired by something to write about it,” DeFeudis shared.  She added, “It’s from my experience.”

Books by Linda DeFeudis and the Sutton Writing Group are available at Amazon.com.