Questions Kids Ask
Why do you write books?
All my life I have loved books. I got to a point in my life when I wanted to make some of my very own. So I did.
How long does it take to write a book?
That depends on what kind of a book it is. My novels (Danger: Long Division and Finch Goes Wild) took about two years each. The My Adventure stories each took about two months, but that was because I left a lot of the decision making to you. Getting the story down is just the beginning. It takes a lot of revision and rewriting to get a story good enough that somebody else might want to read it.
What's your favorite color?
Sometimes it's leaf-green and sometimes it's sky blue. If you're ever down in the dumps, I totally recommend finding a place where you can see green trees against a blue sky. Cheers me right up.
Are Becca and Harmon real people?
No. They are totally made up. But the problems they deal with are things that I've seen lots of kids up against. I made up the characters and stuck them into the world I see around me to see how they would solve the problems that so many kids have to deal with. I mean, when was the last time you actually had to feed blast-ended skrewts? But everybody has to deal with long division and with people expecting them to be what they're not. So I figured maybe somebody out there would be interested in reading about how other kids deal with everyday problems.
Where do you write your books?
Lots of my writing happens in my head, which I try to take with me wherever I go. The writing process starts with ideas, which for me start with seeing interesting stuff in real life. When I'm actually putting the words down, I'm usually in a little room that I call "my cave." It used to be a laundry room, but now it houses my very messy desk, some file cabinets and two tall bookshelves full of reference books. I'm hemmed in on all sides by piles of books and papers. I write on a computer because it makes it so much easier for me to revise and rewrite and revise and rewrite again. When I get stuck, I emerge from my cave and take another look around in the real world.
What do you eat for breakfast?
Usually either cereal and fruit or fruit and cereal. Sometimes a bagel. Sunday mornings, pancakes or scrambled eggs. While I eat breakfast, I read the Washington Post. I know my brain works better after breakfast. I'm not sure whether that's because of the food or because of the newspaper.
What's your favorite book?
The Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. I have zillions of other books that I love, but that's the one that I keep coming back to over and over year in and year out.
What are you working on now?
My next novel, Superfoot, is about Adam Clarke, a middle school soccer player who gets sidelined by some medical issues. It's in the revise and rewrite stage. I've gotten very attached to Adam and his family. I hope you'll like them too.