These are questions Karma is frequently asked by children and adults. If you see a question that isn’t answered, please feel free to ask.
What is your favorite book that you have written?
That is like asking which of my children I like best. There really is no set answer. There are things I like about all of my books. I would say that the Bear books are very meaningful to me because Bear and his friend are constantly growing and changing as characters. Bear books are always fun to write. I love Mortimer’s Manger because it was the first book I wrote exploring what I believe in. Another favorite is Sweet Briar Goes to School because Sweet Briar was based upon my own daughter (though my daughter smells quite nice). I like Frog in the Bog because I felt the language and rhyme is some of the most playful I’ve written, and it’s gross, and gross is fun!
How long does it take to write a book?
There is no real answer to this question. I have one book that took an afternoon to write. I had another that took over two years! The amount of time a book takes to write from the moment it enters my head until it is through the final edits varies from book to book. I would say the average is one month.
What do you do besides write?
Oh, a lot of various things. Now that my kids are gone I have lots of time to do school visits and tell stories. I love to bake. A lot of my time is devoted to my grandaughter, Chloe. I surf the net. I hike and camp. I take lots and lots of photographs.
What are your favorite books by other authors?
I love all sorts of fiction, but mostly children and young adult literature. C.S. Lewis is my favorite author…specifically for his Narnia books (My favorite Narnia book is Voyage of the Dawn Treader). I love the picture book, Where the Wild Things Are. A quick list of favorites would include:
- Where the Red Fern Grows By Wilson Rawls
- The Relatives Came By Cynthia Rylant, Illus. by Stephen Gammell
- Ol’ Black Fly By Jim Aylesworth Illus. Stephen Gammell
- The Giver By Lois Lowry
- I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie By Alison Jackson, Illus. by Judy Schacher
- Hatchet By Gary Paulsen
- Little House Series By Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Anne of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery
- Little Women By Louisa May Alcott
- Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Little Sister Ate One Hare By Bill Grossman, Illus. by Kevin Hawkes
- The Monster at the End of this Book By John Stone, Illus. by Michael Smollin
- Where the Sidewalk Ends By Shel Silverstein
How long did it take you to get published?
I was rejected repeatedly for 3 years when I first started writing. My first book to sell was Bear Snores On. It was accepted first by my agent Steven Malk. He submitted it once and it was rejected. Then he submitted it to Simon and Schuster. They loved it.
Do your kids help you write books?
Yes, they do. They help by listening to them as I write them and telling me if something doesn’t seem right. They give me funny ideas for my books. My husband helps the most though. Many of my books were actually based on his ideas ( Bear Stays Up for Christmas for instance). A lot of my poems in my next poetry book What’s the Weather Inside were based on funny quirks about my kids.
Do you illustrate your own books?
No, I can’t draw anything that you would recognize! I do take photographs, and am working on some books using my photos, but that is the only illustrative talent I possess. Funny enough, I did have some talent for art as a teen, but lost it in adulthood.