Where did you grow up?
Waukegan, IL. Same as author Ray Bradbury!
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
I have an older sister named Melanie.
Did you always like to write?
On and off. In elementary school I usually entered the Young Authors Contest and got to go to the regional ceremonies.
What got you interested in writing?
When I was in college getting my master’s degree, I wrote a children’s book about chemistry. My professor said I should try to get it published.
Who are your favorite children’s authors?
I like books by Katherine Applegate, Jerry Spinelli, Linda Sue Park, and Wendy Mass.
What are your favorite books?
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Do you enjoy writing fiction or nonfiction better?
I enjoy both. I think I’ve learned so much from doing research for my books. I even got ideas for fiction books from nonfiction topics.
Where do you get ideas from?
Everywhere. I always carry paper and a pen with me in case I think of something interesting. In the car I talk into a little tape recorder when I get a new idea.
Where do you write?
Usually at my desk, although writing also includes getting ideas, which I often get while I am running, walking in the woods, or even once I’ve gone to bed. I also like to work at coffee houses for a change of scenery while working on my computer.
How often do you write?
I work on writing two hours a day, seven days a week. Most of this time is not spent actually writing though. It is spent coming up with ideas, editing, and making revisions.
The Nitty Gritty
What are your likes?
Candy, science, math, sum Sudoku, insects, pickle ball, and books.
What are your dislikes?
Gum, wearing rings, cold weather, and green peppers in foods.
What is your favorite food?
I love yellow cake with white frosting and sprinkles on the sides. I also adore Jamba Juice’s Orange Dream Machine.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a dog named Luna.
What is your favorite insect?
Praying mantids. I once was in a movie theater parking lot and heard a woman scream, “It’s a monster!” I ran over to find a praying mantis nearby. I took it to school with me to show my class (and named it Monster). We let it go a couple of days later. I also like weevils and mayflies.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I like to play pickle ball, tennis, and badminton; dance; hike; and watch movies. I also like looking for unusual insects, going to museums, and watching sled-dog races.
What is your favorite movie?
E.T. I first saw it when I was in second grade.
What is your favorite color?
At the moment, lime green.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I think it would be fun to be a scientist, like an entomologist (a person who studies insects) or a primatologist
(a person who studies primates, such as apes).
What was your favorite subject in school?
Math. I still love it.
Q: Did you take all of the photos in Don’t Squash That Bug?
A: I wish! No, these photos were done by professional photographers. My editor showed me many photos and I got to help pick out which would work best on each spread. Then I needed to write captions for each photo, giving more information on that insect. I also had an entomologist and museum curator view the photos and help to make sure the captions were accurate.
Q: Can kids become published authors?
A: Yes! Magazines that publish young writer’s work are American Girl, Highlights for Children, and New Moon. See my New Writers page. There is a section for young writers.
Some websites to go to are:
Potato Hill Poetry
Q: I am an adult with a great idea for a children’s book. What are the steps to getting published?
A: Please visit my New Writers page.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I have been working on many freelance projects for educational publishers, as well as a new novel and a new picture book.
Q: Will you come to our school/library?
A: I would love to. Please visit my Presentations page.
Do you have a question for me?
If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org