When I make classroom visits, students and teachers ask all
kinds of questions about my writing life. Here are a few of the
questions I’m sure to be asked:
How do you research your stories?
I look for information in four places—from people who are experts in the field,
from books, magazines and internet sources, and from visiting the sites that
become the settings for my stories. The best sources, however, are diaries
and letters from the people I write about.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies, but usually it takes three years: one year for research, a few
months for writing, and then I set it aside. After a year, I take it out and
polish it up before sending it to the publisher for advice. Then I rewrite and
send it out to more readers.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Read, read, read. Don’t just read the stuff that interests you—choose a wide
variety of reading material. When you eat breakfast, read the back of the
cereal box. When you go to the beach, take a book of poetry. When you’re
waiting in the dentist’s office, pick up and read a magazine you’ve never seen
Of those you’ve written, what is your favorite book?
I enjoyed writing Silver Ribbon Skinny because I wrote it in first person.
When I was writing about Skinny’s adventures, I felt as if I WAS Skinny.
Tell me about your newest book.
I have written a collection of stories about courageous American girls who
made history. Some were famous and others not so well known. Hopefully,
these stories offer role models to readers who are similar in age and gender,
and perhaps, circumstances, so that they too are inspired to one day make a
difference in their world. It takes a lot of courage to change things.
For Students and Teachers