Sample these Author Profiles and Stories Behind the Stories, then follow the links to the full interviews.
"My stories often begin as images, and it's hard to say exactly where they come from. For Not Like You, I had an image of a teenage girl finding her mother passed out from drinking on the floor of a trailer in the New Mexico desert. The girl felt a mixture of concern and fury, and that piqued my interest: what was her story? How would she reconcile her conflicting feelings of deep love and intense anger toward her mother? I was also inspired by having lived in New Mexico after college, by my own history with drinking, and by my experience of having an older boyfriend when I was 16."
--on NOT LIKE YOU (YA)
“The first thing I remember writing was in first grade...a story about my Papa Louie taking his false teeth out for me because it made me laugh.”
“I wanted the book to be funny and heartrending, but they were fighting each other. That's when I decided to extract the difficult emotional scenes and put them into the graphic sections. It allows the funny stuff to shine, and makes the harder scenes easier to take.”
—on THE CURSE OF ADDY MCMAHON (MG)
“It's a bit like childbirth (for me!) — one forgets the nine months work and the pain, and then does it again!”
— on PERIOD PIECES: STORIES FOR GIRLS (MG
"I needed Cassie to be able to love and forgive her dad without having all the answers about his behavior, and I needed to accomplish this without compromising her funny/angry/anxious voice."
"The major event for me was discovering the Roanoke mystery—it fit so well with the story, I think I was halfway done writing Blue Bloods when I stumbled upon the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. It was like a light bulb went on. From there it was a race to the finish! I couldn't write the story fast enough."
—on BLUE BLOODS (YA)
"I finished it in late April, and I still wasn't sure it was good enough to send off to my agent. I almost just stuck it in a drawer. But then I got up my nerve and sent it. I'm so glad I did! It just goes to show how you can really lose perspective if you work too hard on something."
—on JUST LISTEN (YA)
“It took a long time for me to get these two characters right. Actually, the characters were always right; I knew who they were and their personalities and conversations came effortlessly, but it was the story--the story came slower. I wasn’t sure how the tale of their friendship would unfold.”
—on BELLA AND BEAN (PB)
"Psychologically, it is the deepest and most personal thing I have ever written. It is the darkest story I have ever done, too, and I love the characters so much it hurts sometimes.
The complexity was what stumped me years ago. But my tangle-tolerance has been recalibrated since then."
—on A RESURRECTION OF MAGIC: SKIN HUNGER (YA)
"The major challenge was wondering if I had made my additional choices exotic enough. Pistachio was changed to tutti frutti and the tyrannosaurus rex appeared in the illustrations rather than the text."
—on NO BOWS! (PB
"My mother used to sing me to sleep with it when I was a baby, and I in turn sang it to my boys...only my youngest son would take forever to fall asleep, so I'd keep making up new verses until he finally dozed off (at which point I'd make myself a stiff drink and remind myself not to have any more babies!)."
—on ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME (PB)
"I submitted a story about baby packrats to an editor of novelty books. She liked the rhythm of it, and said it reminded her of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. However, she didn't like rats, even cute ones."
—on THE THREE BEARS' CHRISTMAS (PB)
“I sent a query including my experience with NASA as a flight controller, my degree in physics, and clips of my science articles and activities, many from Odyssey.”
— on SPACE STATION SCIENCE (PB)