Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. Ideas can come from anywhere, from something I read, to a conversation I overhear, to a dream, to a trip I’ve taken, even funny-sounding names. Most of the ideas don’t pan out in the end, but a few eventually become books. I keep a little notebook where I jot down things I may someday want to use. I wrote Everybody Bonjours!, after a recent trip to Paris, but actually the seed was planted almost twenty years ago when my dad wrote my then-four year old a postcard from France which read in part: “Everybody bonjours around here. The men bonjour, the women bonjour, even the cows bonjour!”
Q. How long does it take to write a story?
A. It can take a few hours, or it can take years! Usually I think about it (in the shower or just before going to sleep are my favorite times) for quite a while before writing anything down. And frequently I’m working on a number of things at the same time, so that when I go to the computer, I may say—I’m in a kind of summery mood today; I think I’ll work on that beach story. There are some manuscripts that I’ve done four or five versions of over the years and am still not satisfied with the results.
Q. Do you ever illustrate your own books?
A. I wish I could. I love art and hope that in my next life, I’ll come back with some ability to draw and paint. In this life, I can only admire those who have that talent.
Q. Do your books ever get rejected?
A. They’re rejected more often than they’re accepted! If you write, you have to develop a thick skin. But I take to heart stories about famous authors whose most famous books were rejected initially. Even J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected at first.
Q. What are your favorite books?
A. Really, there are way too many to name. I still think Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White is the most perfect children’s book ever written. Some of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators are Kevin Henkes, Melissa Sweet, Mo Willems, and Grace Lin. In adult books, I tend to read a lot of nonfiction. Favorite recent reads include Ghost Soldiers, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and A Man Called Ove.
Q. How else do you like to spend your time?
A. I like to swim, ski, and walk. You can frequently find me cooking up something up in the kitchen. I like going to see concerts, plays, and ballet. But what I still enjoy most is curling up in a favorite spot with a good book.
If there’s another question that you really want to have answered, contact me to write and ask!