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"It's a delicious thing to write. To be no longer yourself, but to move in an entire universe of your own creating."
-- George Gissing
As a child I became engrossed in many different worlds... Sarah Crewe's cruel old London; Nancy Drew's mysterious caves; Gay's 'romantic' Sunset Island; Laura Ingalls' pioneer prairies, and some delicious book where a girl had a volcano in her basement.. The more I read, the more I imagined myself in those places. Before long I was imagining fascinating worlds of my own and creating characters to enjoy them with. I started writing my own stories when I was about 11. The first was a teen romance novel, but then the characters had to kiss and that was the end of romance writing for me!
My hopes of becoming a real author seemed bleak after that, until one day, much later in life, while reading to my class of preschoolers, I saw my future on the pages of a picture book. Actually, I saw a mischievous green monster in pajamas on the pages, but seeing it made me realize that picture books were fun – even more fun than kissing! I knew at that moment that I wanted to write my own picture books someday.
Of course, I didn’t get a book published right away. First I had to learn how to write well, then I had to practice, practice, practice. I wrote lots of stories for magazines first. Some of them were for children and appeared in magazines like Cricket and Keys for Kids; others were for teachers and parents which were published in magazines like Totline and Reader’s Digest. I even sold a magazine story to a television company in Japan who used it in a television show. That was fun!
I finally got my first picture book, Storm is Coming! published in 2002 by Dial Books for Young Readers. They found a great illustrator named Margaret Spengler who gave my characters faces and made the barnyard come to life. That book is now published in Korean, Italian and Spanish, as well. A few months later, Dial Books bought a second story, What’s that Awful Smell?, and not long after that, Herald Press bought my first middle grade novel, The Cost of Passage –still no kissing!
Lots of books have followed, and I'm delighted to be publishing now with Kids Can Press in Toronto, named Best Children's Book Publisher of the year (2017) in North America at the Bologna Children's Book Festival.
One of my favourite things to do is to visit schools and talk to children about writing books. If you’d like to find out how to get me to your school, click here.
I also do manuscript critiques for beginning writing. For more information, click here.
Or you can take my online fiction-writing course, click here.
Kids...send me your drawings and I'll put them on my site. Click here.
Teachers... visit my new page of lesson plans Click here
Contact me at: email@example.com