Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a country girl, raised an only child by a single mom in the wilds of North Idaho. We only got 3 channels back in the day, and only 1 was watchable. Loneliness and boredom turned me to books at an early age, and I became a voracious reader. I started writing for children as a young married mother of three kids in 1996 and sold my first book in 1999, which was Bear Snores On (illustrated by Jane Chapman, published by Margaret K. McEldery/Simon & Schuster). I went on to publish over 40 books with various publishers and have been fortunate enough to receive numerous literary awards and make a few appearances on the New York Times bestseller list. I’m now an old grandma to my sweet granddaughter, Chloe.
You've written a lot of books! Which one is your favorite, or which one are you most proud of?
My books are kind of like my kids—I can’t pick a favorite! Frog in the Bog (illustrated by Joan Rankin) is the most fun for me when it comes to storytelling, and I feel the Bear books are very positive, kind books that are a bright spot for kids today. A Dog Named Doug is a new one I’m very happy with! The art by Matt Myers is so fun!
What is your work day like? Do you adhere to a strict schedule, or is it always different?
My schedule is all over the place! I tend to write in waves. I’ll go months with nothing, then a storm rolls through my brain, and I tackle several projects at once.
How many rounds of revision do you go through for each book?
The revision process totally depends on the book. Bear Snores On required almost no changes, but my poetry book revisions were much more extensive, as they both have nearly 100 poems each (What’s the Weather Inside, illustrated by Barry Blitt, and Outside the Box, illustrated by Diane Goode). I can’t count how many times those got revised. I also self-revise every line and verse as I go, so I rarely have multiple drafts, but instead, one ever-evolving draft.
What is your all-time favorite picture book (not written by you)?
Again, it’s so hard to pick one! As a child, Where the Wild Things Are and The Monster at the End of this Book were huge favorites and anything by Shel Silverstein (except The Giving Tree, which I didn’t like and still don’t like—sorry, Shel!).