Shelley Hamel

Shelley Hamel

Shelley Hamel was born in Elgin, IL and grew up in a military family moving regularly from post to post every two to three years. She fell in love with writing as a high school student in Rapid City, SD and majored in Communication Arts at Michigan State University while taking every writing course the school offered. She also holds a Master's Degree in Broadcasting from American University.

Her unconventional work history began in Madison WI in 1981 working with her husband, David, and another partner manufacturing a successful proprietary building system. In 1984 she became the second hire in a tiny start-up that later became The American Girl doll company. She was applying for a book writing position, but with her recent experience in manufacturing, she was hired instead as the director of product development. She traveled extensively to Germany and China to oversee doll and accessory development during the first three years of a fantastically successful enterprise later bought by Mattel for $720,000,000.

The impetus to leave the office and office politics was precipitated by corporate burn-out. Her husband, a mechanical engineer, was also ready for change, and that led them to the ultimate non-office job -- team truck driving. Taking notes, writing emails, and keeping a journal formed the basis for Mother Trucker - An Urban Couple Downshifts To Life On The Road. The bulk of the book was written and edited in the Aleutian Islands in 2003, where Shelley and David lived in a remote cabin as caretakers for eight winter months. They were early bloggers, and their blog (now lost in the ether), An Aleutian Winter, was read by hundreds.

Happily retired in central Wisconsin, the couple devote themselves to prairie restoration on their 120 acres of land inhabited by a federally-endangered butterfly, the Karner Blue. They are joined in that adventure by Dash the Dog.

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