Frequently Asked Questions

Do you visit schools or give talks?2024-02-14T11:40:47-05:00

I sure do! Writers love to meet with their fans. I’ve given talks and read-alouds at libraries and schools. I’ve also appeared at book festivals like the Canandaigua Children’s Book Fest. If you’d like me to visit your classroom, school, or library, drop me a line through my contact page and let me know what you have in mind. I could speak to students about whatever you’d like, in addition to doing a reading from any of my books. I’ve talked to classes about all sorts of things–from idea creation and revision to simply answering students’ questions about my books–and I would love to meet with your students, too!

Where do your get your inspiration?2024-02-14T11:40:23-05:00

I think the answer to this is everywhere! People fascinate me. The world and everything in it fascinates me. Twisting true events into something new and sprinkling in a little fantasy sparks my creative juices. So I read a lot of non-fiction as well as fiction. I ask a lot of questions. I read and re-read my favorite authors. The best teachers of writing are other authors and their work.

Are you rich and famous?2024-02-14T11:40:03-05:00

My favorite question of all. And the answer? I wish! I don’t write for fame and fortune. I make a little money; mostly, I make kids happy when they read my books, and that’s all I truly care about. Whatever you choose to do with your own life, choose something that you feel passionate about. It will make you happy and lead to a satisfying life.

Which of your books is your favorite?2024-02-14T11:39:43-05:00

I get asked this a lot. I love them all, of course, like a parent loves all his children equally. However, I have fond memories of writing some books more than others. My personal favorite among my books for older readers (if I MUST answer) would probably be The Halloween House. I love ghost stories, so I went all in on this book. Among my chapter books for young readers, the Animal Quest series is very special to me because I based the characters of Olivia and Alex on my two children, Olivia and Alex! Their personalities and character traits are just like the characters in the book.

Ultimately, I love all my books and they all have a special place in my heart.

Who is your favorite writer?2024-02-14T11:39:21-05:00

I have a lot of favorites. My favorite of all time is probably Stephen King. He writes books for adults! My favorite young adult writer is Mary Downing Hahn. She writes some very spooky books for kids, and you know I love a good ghost story! Vivian Vande Velde, Jane Yolen, C.S. Lewis, and Ray Bradbury are other favorites of mine

How long have you been writing?2024-02-14T11:39:07-05:00

You could say I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil! When I was in my twenties, I published many short stories in magazines. Later, I started writing books. I’ve been publishing books for kids and young adults for almost 20 years now.

Where do your ideas come from?2024-02-14T11:38:47-05:00

Every author gets asked this question. My answer is this: everywhere! You get them from paying attention to the little details of life. You read closely and notice what other authors are doing, then you pick up ideas on how to create colorful characters, exciting plots, suspense, dialogue, or whatever you want to learn. You get ideas for your writing from asking lots of questions about the situations you’re in, too. For example: One day I found an old gym bag down in my basement. It was old, worn, and covered in cobwebs. I didn’t want to open it, especially because it had a very unpleasant smell coming from it, like something had died inside. Yuck! I immediately began asking myself “What if?” questions about the bag. Can you guess what they were? Those questions can lead to a new story.

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