A lot of you have asked interesting questions about me and my career over the years. So I’ve collected them, and put together a Fun Fact page so you can get to know me a little better:
Question: Is it hard being a writer?
Answer: It is a lot of work, but I love it! Creating characters out of thin air, and watching them come to life right before my eyes is way cool! It does take a lot of time and energy to write a book, and sometimes my brain is very tired by the time I go to sleep (just like you after a hard day at school, and doing homework). So like you, I have to take good care of myself by eating right, and exercising. Some days, it can be hard to write, like if I’m stuck on something in the story, or if the dialogue isn’t flowing smoothly. But when I am on deadline, there’s no such thing as, “I don’t feel like working today.” An editor is waiting for my book so she can do her job – making editing notes, marking up my manuscript with changes, and getting the book in for publication on time. But the reward is writing an action-packed mystery story that kids will love!
Question: Do you write at a certain time of the day?
Answer: Most of the time, it’s like having a normal job. I go into my office early in the morning, boot up my computer and start writing. Sometimes it’s to plot, make a character outline, write a book summary, or writing a book. I also get a lot of emails, so I answer them in the morning as well. I do break to go to the gym most days, but get right back at it when I get home. Sometimes, I have to go to meetings or the library, and make or return phone calls. In the evening I read, do research, take notes, and bounce ideas off my dad. I sometimes work late into the night – especially when I’m on deadline. During that time, I eat and sleep with my characters. Then its edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, until the book is done.
Question: How long does it take you to write a book?
Answer: It usually takes me about two months to write a book from start to finish. It can take a week just to come up with a solid plot and write the book summary. Then it takes me another week for research. Then after I finish writing the book, there are edits and rewrites back and forth from the editor for another few weeks. Then it’s ready for publishing!
Question: Why do you write kid’s mystery books?
Answer: I love reading a good mystery, and thought kids would too. I especially love making up clues for my characters to find. Sometimes I make them rhyme, or sometimes it’s a map. I never know which kind of clue I’m going to use until I get going on the book summary.
Question: Are any of your characters real people?
Answer: No, my characters are made up, but I do sometimes give them the names of kids (and adults) I know, or add a few of their personality traits. For instance, in Fort Comradery, The Secret Fort, I used the names Joe and Mike (my son’s names) in the story. I still remember my son Joe saying, “I never treated Mike like that!” I told him it wasn’t really them, but characters with the same name. As a ghost writer, I wrote a book where Ali was a friend of one of the characters. I used my daughter Alicia’s nickname, and added some of her outgoing personality.
Question: Do you have any tips for kids who want to write mystery books?
Answer: Keep on writing. The more you write, the better you write. Make it a habit to write something every day to develop you skill. It can just be a few sentences in a journal if you want. But write about what you like. Do you like animals, baseball, football, or the ocean? If you write what interests you, you’ll have more fun. Also, I have found that good readers make great writers. So keep on reading because, “Reading is Magic!”