I started my first romance novel when I was elevenÖbut then the characters had to kiss and that was the end of that!
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 Ė even more fun than kissing! I knew at that moment that I wanted to write my own picture books someday.
Of course, I didnít get a book published right away. First I had to learn how to write well, then I had to practice, practice, practice (donít worry, practicing was fun). 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 Readerís Digest. I even sold a magazine story to a television company in Japan who used it in a television show. That was fun, too.
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. A few months later, Dial Books bought a second story (Whatís that Awful Smell?) and not long after that, Herald Press bought my first middle grade novel (The Cost of Passage) Ėstill no kissing!
By this time, my husband and I had three daughters (and a bunny). I was too busy playing with them to write much for a few years, but now Iím working on some new stories. In the meantime, both my picture books were chosen by school kids across America for the Childrenís Choice Award, and Scholastic has asked to put the first book in their school book clubs (yaaay)!
One of my favorite things to do is to visit schools and talk to children about writing books. If youíd like to find out how to get me to your school, click here
I also do manuscript Critiques for beginning writers (you have to be an adult for this, but if you go to the kidís page, youíll find something for young writers too). For more information, click here.