Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A: I always loved writing, as well as reading and telling stories. When I was a little girl, I spent hours in our elementary school library discovering new books. I lost myself in the lives of the characters, whether they lived in a real world or a fantasy one. When I was in second grade, I had the opportunity to attend a writer’s workshop because I won a writing contest in my school. The experience was overwhelming- to go to a college campus and learn about writing from professors! But, I also loved the theatre, so when I grew up I got an acting degree and pursued directing and teaching theatre. In the theatre, I bring all my favorite classic stories to life. Even so, I never let go of the dream to write a story that would end up being a book, a real book that I could set on my bookshelf next to the other books I love.
Q: Who is your favorite character in the From Sadie’s Sketchbook Series?
A: Sadie is my favorite character in the series, but Frankie is a close second. When you read the first book that will surprise you, but as you read the next books, I think you’ll understand why.
Q: What kind of research did you do for the From Sadie’s Sketchbook Series?
A: I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time with a scientist, Lynn Rogers, who studies black bears in their natural environment. I was able to learn a lot about bear behavior and biology from my experience. It’s funny, when I was a girl, my parents made me hike down a path to a creek, and on the path there was a sign warning us about bears, specifically that they would go after food if you brought it down the path. My parents knew we were relatively safe, but I just wouldn’t believe them. I could hardly eat, because I was so focused on listening for approaching monsters in the bushes. It’s hard to believe, then, that I had a complete 180 degree change of heart, after observing the black bears in person. I learned that they really aren’t as aggressive as I thought. Bears want food and safety, and mostly they just want humans to leave them alone. So, as long as we stay out of their way, and we keep our food in safe containers, we’re safe, and the bears are too.
Q: Do you draw, like Sadie does?
A: I LOVE to draw, and I try to sketch a little every day. I’m not a natural artist, though, so I have to work hard at improving my skills. One of the most fun parts of getting to know Sadie as a character was learning from books and illustrator friends and workshops how to draw. It makes me so very happy that lots of people who read the From Sadie’s Sketchbook series are inspired to learn how to draw, too!
Q: Do you have another job, besides writing?
A: Yes! I’m the Executive Director for Society of Young Inklings, where we offer classes, mentorships and publishing programs for young writers. I have one of the best jobs in the world, because I get to spend time with lots of creative kids! If you want to know more about the Inklings, click here.
Q: Why did you start the Society of Young Inklings?
A: Even when I was young, I loved writing. I wanted to learn more about how to improve my writing and about my favorite authors. When I got older, and started visiting classrooms, I learned that lots of kids feel that same way. Students asked me all sorts of questions about writing that were hard to answer in a few minutes. So, I decided to create a community where young writers could share, learn and be inspired!