When I was a kid, I was obsessed with stuffed animals. I had 40 or 50 of them, enough to sag a bookshelf. They didn’t quite have distinct personalities, but in my mind Mrs. Lion, Mr. Hawk, and Princess Panther were brimming with life.
Each month, we ask one distinguished author or illustrator to write an original post that reveals insights about their process and craft.
My experiences have not made me afraid to go into the bush. They have taught me valuable lessons. They have given me an appreciation of my capabilities—and kept me in awe of nature.
I’d take it all in, digesting these words, this language, these codes and sounds sloshing around in my head, mixing with the language of my older brother and what I’d hear him saying outside with his friends, also a language all their own.
The books I read as a child made me feel that whatever I was going through was OK because someone, some character or storyteller, understood what I was experiencing and I wasn’t alone.
I come from a small family and grew up in the suburbs of California. So what inspired me to write about a family and a setting so different from my own upbringing?
The answer to what happened at Ebenezer Creek during General William Tecumseh Sherman’s historic March to the Sea in 1864 sent me reeling, had me weeping inside.
If I could have nameless, faceless avatars running around making my plots function, my work would be a lot easier. But no one wants to read that story—including me. Readers want characters that have lives off the page. Characters that feel like friends, or enemies. Characters to root for, and root against. Characters that are […]
As I listened to Ruthie, I discovered the magic of yielding to a story. Memory and fiction became my wings. At times I wrote about things that I thought I’d made up and was surprised when I learned that they were actually true.
Like my mother, I’ve become a collector of objects, especially while I’m writing. As I begin a new project, I gather items that tell me about the subjects or reveal setting, plot, or most importantly, the characters.
When kids ask me where I get my ideas I often say I buy them at the Dollar Store. They generally don’t find this response particularly funny, yet it doesn’t stop me from saying it time and again.