Author website/social media:
1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
YES. I loved to read. There was a great library in the town where I grew up, and my mom used to take me there for hours. I am an only child and sometimes my whole weekend would be sitting in my room, with a cat on my lap, reading book after book. It was dreamy.
2. What is a book that made an impact on you?
This was a hard question to answer, because so many books have made an impact on me, from novels that made me feel seen to picture books that made me laugh. I’ll choose Bridge to Terabithia, which was the first book that made me cry. I think that showed me how magic books can be – little squiggles on the page that can make me feel real feelings? Sorcery!
3. Is it hard to come up with book ideas?
It’s not hard to come up with ideas, but it is hard to figure out which are the good ones. I get most of my ideas when I’m outside, walking my dogs or going for a run. I always bring something with me to write on, and I write them all down. Then I play around with them, and some have momentum and become a good story, and some turn out to not be so great, idea-wise.
4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?
I can’t stop thinking about The Lost Girlby Anne Ursu. It’s a real page turner that grabbed my heart, made me smile, and empowered me stand taller.
5. Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?
Yes! My friend Karen Strong has a debut middle grade coming out in May called Just South of Home, that has family, mystery, science, and ghosts, and I can’t wait to read it.
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
The first thing I need to make sure kids know is that authors are real people. I didn’t know that when I was a kid. I assumed all my favorite authors were dead. Or, if they were alive, they were much fancier than me. So you heard it here first: authors are regular people. Not fancy. And alive.
The second thing you need to know is that the way you write – your process – is exactly the same for me as it is for you. Professional grownup authors struggle with our words too. We write terrible stories sometimes. We get frustrated because the words on the page don’t match the words in our heads. We get distracted. We stare out the window. The biggest difference is that I know this is how it works, so I know to keep going.
And the last thing I have to tell any kid who wants to be an author is: GOOD. If you have stories you want to tell, then we need to hear them. Please keep writing. Know that the story you have to tell is worth telling. Write the story in your heart. Write the stories you want to read. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
I do hear from readers! I love when readers draw my characters and write their own stories about them, or when they put characters from different books in a picture together, like Snappsy and Bert chatting with Waldo and Sassy.
I also love when they write me to tell me they like my books because they’re funny. Maybe this is because I’m a needy person who likes to be reassured that I am, in fact, funny. Or maybe this is because I think funny books are important, and those readers reiterate that for me.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
I would portal into Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Emily Hughes. I want to spend a night in each of those treehouses! And most especially live in the one with all the books.