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Anything can inspire this author

Katharine Johnson up for state award

In a way, Katharine Johnson's writing career was sparked by a dislike of washing dishes.

The Cloquet author recounts how she was always trying to figure out ways to not do the dishes when she was a little girl.

"So when it was my turn one time, I just scooted upstairs and hid from my mother," she said. "I don't know what possessed me, but I said: 'I can't, I'm writing a book.' And lo and behold, she did the dishes for me."

She started, but never finished, that particular mystery novel, and decided years later that she "owed" her mother a book.

Consider that debt paid.

Johnson's most recent off...