Where were you born?
I was born in the breezy Kansas prairie town of Hays—probably most well-known for such short-time citizens as Wild Bill Hickok and Lt. Colonel George Custer. Although I’ve moved around the Midwest a fair amount (14 different cities in 6 states), I still consider myself a Kansas native and the bright yellow Kansas state flower—the sunflower—is still my favorite flower.
What were you like as a kid?
I was something of a tomboy, trying to keep pace with my older brother, Frank—riding bikes and playing baseball. But I also loved to play dolls with my friends and create stories about their adventures. And hold down my younger brother, Glenn, long enough to read him a new story!
Did you like to read?
I loved to read! As soon as I’d mastered the basics of reading, I was off and running. When I’d finished reading all my books from school, I’d start reading Frank’s books. My parents bought us a collection of folktales and fairy tales. I’d make my younger brother, Glenn, sit still long enough so I could read them to him—over and over again.
Did you like school?
I liked school because I liked to learn things, all different kinds of things—but especially reading and writing. The areas I found most challenging were math and science. But I ended up marrying a man who excelled in math—my husband Rob. And then we had two boys, Matt and Dan, who loved reading and spending time at the library just like me.
When did you start writing?
I began writing stories and poems in elementary school. I won a few local prizes and was published in local newspapers. I enjoyed the acclaim, but mostly I wrote because I enjoyed writing so much—taking a blank page and making it come to life with characters. In high school, college, and beyond, I continued taking classes to improve my writing skills. After years working as a librarian, I decided I wanted to write full time and share my stories with young readers.
Does anyone help you with your writing?
Lots of people! My family–especially my husband–is very supportive of my writing. Local and online writers’ groups I belong to help review my writing and give me wonderful suggestions to make it better. My friends also encourage me greatly. And of course, students in the schools I visit give me all kinds of new story ideas.
What do you do for fun?
I think writing is loads of fun. But I also enjoy playing tennis, hiking, reading–and hanging out with my two grandsons!
Do you have any pets?
My dog Holly—a Schnoodle—hangs out in my office most days. She’s always eager to throw out new story ideas, but of course, they always involve dogs.