Mom, what's for dinner?
A: I don't know. Pizza? (This is my most frequently asked question and my most frequent answer.)
Did you really hate reading as a kid?
A: Oh yes! I remember being in fourth grade and we had to sit quietly and read How to Eat Fried Worms. Instead of reading the words, I counted them. My stepsister, who was a good reader, used to summarize books for me in amazing detail and this was how I did my book reports in middle school. (Kids, don't try this at home.) It wasn't until twelfth grade that I read my first novel that wasn't assigned by a teacher. I'd severely sprained my ankle and was stuck on the couch for a few weeks. My dad gave me Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. I realized the power and the pleasure of a good book.
Where do you get your ideas?
A: My dad has a crazy theory. Good ideas are just floating around in the air like invisible bubbles, and if you stand in the right place they pop into your brain. My brain goes pop a lot so I must live in an area with a high concentration of idea bubbles. (They seem to like hanging out in the shower.) When a new idea stops by, I jot it down in one of my notebooks and then I try to turn them into a story like a picture book or a novel. That's the hard part.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: January 26, 1988. Just kidding! I don't have an exact date. I liked writing and drawing in elementary school, but I was a horrible speller and did not understand grammar. I still think commas are tricky. But I always found math to be easy (except for word problems). So I breezed through math classes and writing took a back seat through middle school, high school, and college. I wrote my first book at night while working as an engineer during the day.
What's your writing routine?
A: Routine implies that I have a pattern and I don't. Ideally, I like to get up, grab a cup of coffee and write for a few hours while still wearing jammies. This only happens on snow days and President's Day. I try to write, rewrite, or research while my children are at school in the mornings. I also take my laptop or notebook to the soccer fields, karate practice, and every waiting room. I have to squeeze in the writing time when I can.