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I’m Laura Stassi, an award-winning writer and editor living in Reston, Virginia. My feature stories have been published in regional and national publications. I’m also the author of several nonfiction books for young readers.

Among the amazing people I’ve interviewed are the daughters of legendary civil rights leaders Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz; and my own mother, whose memories of living room dance parties in Monroeville, Alabama, with her childhood neighbors Harper Lee and Truman Capote informed a travel feature I wrote for The Washington Post.

As a dedicated jogger, I embedded myself on a 169-member team of runners training to complete a marathon in Richmond, Virginia. I chronicled my experiences with the group for the Richmond Times Dispatch. My  biweekly, six-month series, “I’m a Writer, Not a Runner,” proved to be so popular and inspirational that the following year, participation on the training team – and the 26.2 mile race – increased substantially. Today, both continue to thrive.

Read more of my work at writethepeople.com

Just as I did for marathon hopefuls with “I’m a Writer, Not a Runner,” I want to inspire and encourage single men and women over the age of 50 with Dating While Gray. I got a big boost in this effort when I was one of five people chosen out of almost 550 applicants to participate in NPR member station WAMU’s The Pod Shop. This initiative trains and supports aspiring podcasters in the Washington, D.C., region.

Each show creator received a $2,500 stipend and spent three months learning the ins and outs of podcast production while developing our original projects.

“We were so impressed with the mix of humor and gravitas that radiates off of you,” The Pod Shop leaders wrote in extending the invitation to join the inaugural cohort.