What books influenced you most when you were growing up?
I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I also loved PIPPI LONGSTOCKING.
Did you write stories when you were growing up? at school? Or at home as a hobby? As a young child, or as a teenager, or both?
Yes, I knew since the age of five that I wanted to be a writer. So I spent a great deal of my play time writing stories and writing novels. I stopped for a few years as a teenager. It just seemed like too hard a thing to do. But then I realized it was the thing I loved best, so hard or not, it was what I would spend my life doing.
What was your first job when you graduated from college?
My first job after college was doing research for the main newspaper in San Francisco. The reporters would tell me what they needed, and I’d go find it.
How soon after that was your first book published?
I didn’t publish a “real” book (trade book) until about 14 years after that. But for a number of years I wrote novels and short stories for educational publishers. These books were published and sold only through school distributors.
Was your first book accepted immediately? or did you experience a number of rejections?
I experienced a number of rejections!
What are the topics are some of your books?
I love writing about adventures in the wild. I also love writing about families, particularly the relationships between sisters.
Do you focus on fiction or nonfiction? Which do you prefer? Do you find one easier than the other?
I focus primarily on fiction. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, at all, but I love exploring my imagination, so I would say it’s more fun. But more and more, I’m enjoying nonfiction, too.
Do you do other types of writing - for example, educational, nonfiction, magazine work?
I write novels and nonfiction for adults, too.
What really triggers your imagination?
Watching animals play or exist in the wild triggers my imagination. We humans are animals, after all, and seeing other animals at work and play helps me get ideas.
Have any of your books earned special recognition?
My novel TRACKS IN THE SNOW won the Parents Choice gold award. My novel HOOP GIRLZ was named one of Booklists’ “Ten Best Sports Books of 2002.”
Do you write every day and do you have set hours that you work?
Yes! I write every day from about 9:00 a.m. until about 2:00. Then I usually do another, shorter stint from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.