1. Can you tell us something hardly anyone knows about you?
I used to want to write country songs. (I kind of still do.)
2. Do you have a nickname?
3. What is your greatest fear?
I don’t like heights so much but I’m more afraid of being afraid of things, so I climb pretty high anyway.
4. Can you describe your writing style for us in ten words?
I open a new document and hope for the best!
5. Can you give us five positive words that describe you as a writer?
Creative, honest, funny, observant, hopeful.
6. What book character would you most like to be, and why?
Probably Charlotte A. Cavatica (from Charlotte’s Web) — she is so grounded and thoughtful and bright and optimistic. She lifts up everyone around her and makes a big contribution to the world. I’d like to be a hard-working spider who leaves the world a better place.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
I think I’d like to go back to the early 60s when things were heating up here in America — we were on the brink of so much change at that time (and there was so much good music). I’d like to go a dance where you get swung around by someone and then to a rally for equality. I would have loved to be a part of it. Also, I would get to meet my maternal grandfather, which would make the inherent risks of time travel well worth it!
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
Don’t get a perm!
9. Who is your greatest influence?
In writing, my greatest influence is Paula Danziger. I’ve said from the beginning that if I could affect one young reader the way The Cat Ate My Gymsuit affected me, I will have been successful. In life, my greatest influence is my mother.
10. What or who made you start writing?
I started writing as a way to distract myself from the messy things of childhood and adolescence. Then in tenth grade a special teacher told me I was good at it. He took me aside to say that, which is why certain teachers really are heroes. They build people. Anyway, that was that — I don’t think I ever thought about being anything else ever again.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Dynamic. It’s only one word but it does so much of the work. I use it too much. I’ve even looked up synonyms for it to try to use it less. But 'lively' doesn’t cut it.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s an impossible question, really. I get so many different things from so many different books, it would be torture to read only one forever and ever! Some favourites are Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan for their language and wisdom. But also Ramona and Her Father because every word in that book is true.
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