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Sneed Collard on having fun with first-hand research

Not only does author Sneed Collard love to slog through rain forests and dive deep into the sea, it gives him the background he needs to write from experience.

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Sneed Collard

Nonfiction, Nature and Science

Sneed Collard

Through a combination of persistence, first-hand research, and travel, Collard began to carve out a niche for himself as a nonfiction science author for young people. Research trips to places like Costa Rica and Australia led to books about interesting topics such as cloud forests and coral reefs.


Once “Animal Dads” was so success I start thinking about other ways to do this, so I wrote books like “Beaks,” about bird beaks. I wrote books called … a book called “Animals Asleep,” about all the different ways animals asleep, or sleep. My two new books, “Teeth” and “Wings” are also those kind of whimsical books and if you read through those they’re really just collections of interesting critters I’ve seen on my travels or doing research for other books. And so I still … I still do a lot of travel. I’ve traveled to other places as well to do research and it’s just kind of become a routine for me. And one that’s very satisfying because being out in the field not only gives you a real gut impression for what things are like that helps you write, as you know. But what it does … it also gives you unique information that you can’t find anywhere else. I mean, slogging through a tropical rainforest with a scientist or going in a deep-sea submersible to the ocean bottom with the scientists, you’re going to get perspectives that from not only the environment but the scientists that you just won’t get. And often the scientists’ human sides really come out when they’re out in the field. Because every scientist I know is much happier in the field than they are back in the lab but most of them have to spend most of their lives in the lab. So once they’re out in the field it’s like ecological release and they’re happier and they’re telling stories and they’re showing you all kinds of really cool stuff that they might not think about just sitting in their office.