Did you always want to become an author?
I always enjoyed writing, but it wasn't until I was almost forty that I decided to seriously commit myself to becoming an a published author.
What prompted your decision to start writing seriously?
I pursued a Master's Degree in Communication and my Master's project involved authoring a collection of picture books that explored inter, intra, and mass communication from a child's perspective. Then I met Newbery award winning author Patricia Reilly Giff and her husband Jim. They owned a local children's book store and she offered classes there. I signed up, and was immediately hooked. I was teaching second grade at the time, and raising my two children, so time was tight. But Jim Giff said to me, "If you want to be a writer, you write. Every day. Pat did it with three kids and a full time teaching job. If you want it, you can do it too." And I did.
What is something no one ever asks you about writing or being an author that you would like to share?
No one really asks about the amount of time, energy, resilience, and persistence it takes to get published. The effort is a testament to a driving force within the author that is all about the process and little about the end result. Writers write because there is something in them that needs to be expressed. And the process is life-giving. It allows the writer to deal with disappointment and rejection.
Any advice for children who someday hope to become writers?
As you go through your days NOTICE everything. Look carefully at the people, places, and feelings in your life. Before you can write you need to learn how to really SEE. Question everything. Ask why, how come, why not, what if? Write every day. Never give up. Believe in your own view of the world. And write it true.
What other authors do you look up to?
Katherine Paterson, Avi, Roald Dahl, and Susan Cooper have all influenced my writing. I love Mary Oliver's poetry, and Richard Rohr's books on spirituality. And Patricia Reilly Giff, Donna Jo Napoli, and Liza Ketchum have taught me a lot about my craft.
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