What I like best about writing books for young readers is the joy of creating funny stories and comical characters. Like Mr. Rosen in Starring Arabelle, who forgets to put his clothes on, or actress-y Camille Becker, who’s always on stage even when she isn’t, or nerdy Erna Sue Comstock, the smartest girl in ninth grade, who knows what ophidiology means. I enjoy adolescents of all kinds, but nerds are particular favorites. What I most want to give readers, aside from quirky characters and comical adventure, is the feeling that the story could actually happen to them, that they could own the adventure and be a part of it.
I was married with children before writing books occurred to me. For several years I taught preschool in rural Alabama. There were no funds for books so I provided stories and simple reading texts for the classroom. Some of those stories became great favorites with the kids and later turned into unpublished picture books. Novels for tweens and young adults came later. It was when I created impulsive, romantic Arabelle Archer, heroine of Starring Arabelle, that I found “my humor voice.”
Like Arabelle, I grew up an only child, unless you count a much older brother and an even older sister. Like Arabelle, I wanted to be an actress but didn’t appear in plays until I was in high school. After college, I acted in amateur productions and had starring roles in comedy and drama, though I was never Essie Carmichael in You Can’t Take It With You (check me out below). Unlike Arabelle, I did not dream of becoming a great actress. Just a good one!
I currently live with my husband in Hingham, Massachusetts, and part of the year on St. Simons Island, Georgia. When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading or tramping around the many woodland trails and beaches nearby, where I invent new stories filled with whimsical goings-on and characters that jump off the page into readers’ hearts.
The author as Sarah Undershaft in Major Barbara
The author as Angelique in The Imaginary Invalid
The Author as herself – January 2012