I visit a lot of schools to talk with kids about books and writing. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions:
How do you come up with your ideas? From your childhood?
As a kid I DID pick blueberries for money to buy new school clothes. And there actually were two farmer brothers who were in a mysterious feud. We never figured out why, which is probably why I thought about it all these years. Some of those thoughts made it into The Secrets of Blueberries, Brothers, Moose & Me.
How did you become an author?
I studied journalism in college, but switched over to creative writing during my second year. After college I started working at a TV station, writing and producing commercials and TV shows. I continued to take fiction writing classes and also studied screenwriting at the University of Washington. One of the screenplays I wrote got the attention of an editor who liked it and encouraged me to write the first three scenes as chapters. I did, and that screenplay became my first novel: How To Disappear Completely and Never Be Found.
I want to be an author when I grow up. Do you have any advice for me?
There are as many different ways to go about it as there are books and authors. Keep reading! Read the books you love and also try reading books from perspectives you're not as familiar with. I've done a lot of work in school libraries and know that it's sometimes hard to get readers to take a book that looks different from the books they know they like. Try new books! Know that the process is different for everyone, and that a lot of rejection is usually part of the journey. First drafts are just first drafts so don't expect perfection. I don't know anyone who doesn't need to revise a manuscript. Consider taking some writing classes or join critique groups of other people who care about books and writing.
Do you have any pets?
We have two cats (Peach and Scout) and a dog (Pico). You can read an interview about Pico and see photos HERE.
I do visit schools, both in person and via Skype. Please contact me for details.
Questions or comments? You can send me a message below!