As a child, I loved reading. My favorites were the ALL OF A KIND FAMILY series by Sydney Taylor. The five sisters in the books seemed so real to me, it was as if they were my friends.
Did you write stories when you were growing up? At school? Or at home as a young child, or as a teenager, or both?
I loved writing poems when I was young. I wasn’t comfortable sharing my work with anyone, and I would hide it in my drawer. When I do school visits I encourage kids to share their work with parents, teachers, and friends.
Do you do other types of writing - for example, educational, nonfiction, magazine work?
All of the above! I spent many years writing educational materials for the mental health field. I have also been a staff writer for a magazine. I enjoy writing for children the most. It keeps me young in spirit.
What kinds of things inspire you to write?
Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes it is a childhood memory, a conversation overheard in a restaurant, or even a story in the news. Finding inspiration for ideas is the easy part. Sitting in a chair and getting the writing done is the challenge!
Have any of your books earned special recognition?
Yes. LIKE A MACCABEE was given the Merit Award for Children’s Literature from the Mid-West Independent Publishers Association.
Have any of your fiction stories been about real people or events?
My characters are fictional although their traits reflect people I have known. People in our lives leave impressions and it is inevitable that aspects of relationships and experiences find their way into stories.
Do you enjoy researching or do you prefer working totally from your imagination?
I love doing research. Good research leads to better writing and allows the author to include authentic and interesting details to a story. This is true for both fiction and non-fiction.
When you do school visits, what question do children ask you most?
Students often want to know where I get ideas and whether or not the characters I write about are real people. They also enjoy asking personal questions about my family and pets!
What do you most want the students to get out of your school visits?
I love meeting kids in schools. I encourage reading and writing as fun activities. I like kids to find creative ways to share stories they have read or stories they have created themselves. Some examples are reader’s theatre, letter writing, and journaling. I also like students to come away with the message that good writing involves lots of editing and rewriting!
Has anyone ever written you a fan letter that you’d like to share?
Yes. I received one letter from a student who wrote, “After meeting you, I learned not to be afraid of writing.” I couldn’t have been more thrilled!