My dad was a respected small-town doctor who dreamed of dancing like Fred Astaire and drove a motorcycle to his rounds in the dead of winter bundled in a huge parka. My mom urged us up narrow mountain roads and out to empty deserts in search of rare birds, and happily managed to read just about every book in the library while six kids, their friends, various dogs, cats, hamsters, ducks, chickens, even a giant pet rat tumbled through life about her.
As my mother did, I like a bit of chaos and lots of time to think and dream in my life. One of my earliest dreams—to be a writer—came true. But before I published my first book, I went to college—twice. I have a degree in psychology and a degree in English/creative writing. I’ve worked picking fruit, made ski goggles, and was a waitress, a store clerk, a substitute teacher, a hotel maid, a typist, a photographer, a journalist, an editor, and a corporate communications manager. Along the way, I met a wonderful man in the vitamin aisle of a grocery store, got married, and had two wonderful children.
For my first Candlewick book, A Visitor for Bear, the character Mouse just popped into my head. It turns out that just popping up is a bad habit of his, much to the annoyance of grouchy, reclusive Bear.
But a little bit of me is in every book I write, and I think Mouse comes in part from every happy pet I’ve owned along with a touch of my father’s wit and charm. I love to say that Bear is based on my husband (who is very pleased with this idea), but I suspect Bear comes from a lot of sources, including the Donald Duck cartoons I watched as a kid. Poor smugly content Donald was always driven into a rage by life’s inevitable indignities.
There are now more Mouse and Bear books on the bookshelves, including A Birthday for Bear and A Bedtime for Bear.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I had to get glasses when I was one and a half years old. I was so little I could barely walk. And I hated them and tried to get rid of them. I would hang them on bushes, ran over them with my tricycle, and even flushed them down the toilet. I still have to wear them, but now I’m glad I can see!
2. My first pet was a dachshund (a wiener dog). I was in charge of training him and went to special classes to learn about dog obedience. You should always have your dog walk to your left and don’t ever let him cross to your right without your permission. That way you won’t end up tripping on his leash.
3. I almost fell out of a roller coaster when I was little and my brother had to grab me to hold me in the car.