Do you like being a writer?
Most days I love being a writer. I have a short commute, right across the hall, and I get to wear comfy clothes, and be my own boss (I’m a very strict boss to myself.) I like dreaming up ideas and shaping them into stories, and I love being able to buy real, concrete things (like a new washing machine) with money I earned from sitting in a room by myself, writing. I even love–uh, oh, here comes my boss. I’ll talk to you later!
Is being a writer hard?
Some days, when things aren’t going well, being a writer is really hard. I used to rent a house on a farm and while I was writing I would look out the window and see the farmer mowing his field. What a life! I’d think to myself. He mows the field once, and he’s done. He doesn’t have to mow it over and over, the way I have to write a story many many times. How would the farmer feel if he worked all day ploughing the field and then turned around and saw all the cut grass had grown right back again? That’s how I feel sometimes when I have to keep writing a book many times over.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get many of my ideas from my childhood; I remember being a child very vividly. I also get ideas from my daughter or her friends, kids in the neighborhood, teachers, the news, or kids at school visits. YOU could be in my next story!
Did you always want to be a children’s book author?
I was always in love with the idea of writing for children, but it was years before I committed myself to it. Before that I played with the idea of becoming a song writer for Broadway, a screenwriter for TV or films, or an actress in a daytime drama. When I was little I wanted to become famous for my thoughts. I still wish I could find a way to do this!
What is your favorite book you haven’t written yet?
I love this question because I think most writers are in love with the book they are dreaming of writing next. The potential of an unwritten book holds so much magic and promise.
Are you good at anything besides writing?
I’m really good at doing laundry! All you do is toss the clothes into the washing machine, add soap, turn the dial and Presto! Everything comes out sparkling clean. I wish there were a computer program that could do that with my writing!
Is your parakeet, Winky Blue, still alive?
Winky, the star of the “Winky Blue” series, lived a long life for a parakeet but he’s no longer alive. It’s amazing that he lived as long as he did because my mother once attempted to clean his cage with the vacuum hose. Fortunately, he didn’t get sucked up!
I thought vampires were mean, the one in your book, A Vampire is Coming to Dinner! isn’t. Why not?
In A Vampire is Coming to Dinner!, the illustrator and I are having fun with the vampire, so he isn’t mean. In fact, you might end up feeling a little sorry for the vampire at the end of the story when he just wants to take a nap!
Your dad was a scientist. Did he ever blow anything up at your house?
As far as I know my never blew anything up at our house or at his laboratory either. He did discover a medicine called Polymyxin, however (Neosporin) but he only got $1.00 for this discovery which is why I’m not hugely rich.
Will you sign Stephen King’s name in one of my books?
Stephen King is a great guy and a terrific writer, but I think he has enough of his own books to sign!