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I definitely get asked some of the same questions when I meet readers. I thought some of you might like to know more about me. You probably already know I'm a children's nonfiction author. 

This was blog post was first published in 2017 and then updated in 2024.

Click the links to learn the answers to these questions that have long answers.
   What inspires you to write? 
What books have you written? 
So far I have 13 nonfiction books published. 

Will you write another book? 
Yes! I have more books on the way. Want the updated list? Check this out. I'm not done writing yet. I'm always researching, writing, or revising. 

However, I have many more stories and manuscripts in notebooks and on my computer that may not be published. 

Were you always good at writing?
Nope! In school I was just average. My writing never stood out. No one ever suggested I write a book-not even me! I never enjoyed fiction writing as a kid; however, I did enjoy writing notes and letters to friends and family members. In school I was a fairly good student, but I had to work harder than my classmates for (mostly) good grades.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized I enjoyed writing. After a few years of blogging, I took several writing classes to improve my skills. I also read a lot of books about writing and the publishing industry. (Of course I was reading a lot of nonfiction children's books, too.) I met my first editor at a writing conference!

How long have you been writing?
I began blogging in 2009. In 2012 I began taking writing courses and writing magazine articles.

I had my first book idea in 2014! So I've been writing books for ten years. 

Are you rich?
Nope! Most authors are not rich (though the ones who make a lot of money seem to be in the news). For perspective, I drive a van that is 14 years old. 

How do I sign up for your newsletter?
Thanks for your interest! You can sign up here, but be sure to check your email and confirm you want to get the newsletter from me! For those interested, you can also follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. Kids, please use a grown-up's email with permission. I cannot send my newsletter to school email accounts.  

Where do you live?
I'm a children's author living in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I live outside of a small town (and not too far from Maryland and Delaware).

How do you find the photos for your books?
Great question! This is such a popular question I created an interactive slideshow to answer how I get and legally use images in my books. And sometimes my publisher finds them!

What's the writing process like?
Actually, my writing process is a lot like the writing process your teachers have you use! The biggest difference is that I have to proofread TONS of times! 

Do you really like bugs and spiders?
 Yes, but I haven't always liked them. I have learned so much about insects in the past couple of years. I now find them fascinating! There are so many of them, and they have such cool features (armor, camouflage, lights...) and some are egg-laying machines! There is one insect I don't want to come near: the louse! 

I don't particularly like insects or spiders in my home, so when I find them I try to just pick them up (sometimes with a tissue for safety) and toss them out the door. If I'm outdoors, I remind myself I'm in their territory-even if ants are invading my picnic.

Did you really hold an owl? And a SPIDER? 
I sure did as part of my research! You can read about how I met Quincy and Alexandria who are both owls here!
Can you come to my school?
I would love to visit! Tell your teachers, PTO, or librarian about me. Visiting schools and libraries thrill me! You can read about my workshops and presentations here. I also visit virtually. 

What's the hardest part about getting a book published?
You have to be patient. Not only do you have to be a good writer, but you also need to understand the publishing industry. It takes time.

As a writer, you also need to be able to accept criticism and feedback about your manuscript. It truly makes it better. (Though it's your story, the professional editors really know what they're doing!) You can't take criticism personally. Oh, along with this, you also need to be able to accept rejection. Your first (or third) manuscript may never be published, but don't stop writing and learning if you have a story in you. 

Do you really need to revise your writing?

In this post, I talked about how revisions are similar to home renovations. Because yes, good writers revise. 

What's your favorite writing tool?
Sticky notes! I use multiple sticky notes daily. I also use them for quick notes and reminders. I use them to highlight cool facts in books (especially when borrowed from the library and  in my own, too). When I'm brainstorming a topic to write about, I add a single topic to a sticky note. Then, I group similar topics together. I move the groups around to determine the rough outline for my book (or article). Even nonfiction authors need to have the right structure for their book.

My second favorite tool is the Children's Writer's Word BookIt's great for children's writers. 

What are your favorite books for kids?
Great question! I have a lot of books I enjoy. For young children, I can't get enough of Mo Willems's Piggie and Gerald books. I also have a sweet spot in my for Salina Yoon's books, like Found and her Penguin series. 

Some of my fiction favorites that older children will also enjoy are 
Hope in the Valley 
The Labors of Hercules Beal 
The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs
The Mysterious Benedict Society (series)
The Penderwicks (series)
Narnia (series) 
and anything by Richard Peck, Debbi Michiko Florence, Gary D. Schmidt,  and Mo Willems for some fun.

I also read lots (and lots) of nonfiction including by authors like 
Candace Fleming
Kirsten W. Larson
Steve Sheinkin
Sarah Albee
Jennifer Swanson
Heather Montgomery
Steve Jenkins
Melissa Stewart
Debra Kempf Shumaker
Tina M. Cho
Jason Chin

Though some may think they're old-fashioned and a wee bit girly, I love the Betsy-Tacy series (and other books by Maud Hart Lovelace), Anne of Green Gables (and other books by L. M. Montgomery), and books by Louisa May Alcott (not just Little Women). I appreciate the history we can read about in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. In fact, I started a blog called Wilder Companion and provide workshops and presentations about pioneer living and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Now I've written The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide, too. 

Do you have any pets?
Yes! Our family includes three children, my husband, and me, plus two cats. One is named Soka and the other is Kiwi. They were both fostered before we adopted them. 
Yes! I wrote about cats in Meow! The Truth About Cats. Even though I have had pet cats most of my life I still had to research!

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