About Mary

Mary's Books

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Whatís the best thing about being a writer?

I get to learn about new things, imagine, create, share ideas. Itís all in a dayís work.


Do you ever get writerís block?

All the time. I have lots of ideas that sound great inside my head but when I try to type them they come out all jumbled. Iíve found the best way to get past that is to get up and walk away from the story for a while. A lot of times, Iíll go for a run. I try to pick a trail, so I donít have to worry about traffic Ė and I just think. Generally, by the time Iíve run a few miles, I have the problem worked through and Iím ready to write on!


Do you write everyday?

Almost. Some days I only write for a few minutes, but on weekdays I generally spend at least four hours each day writing. I believe the only way to become a better writer is to write, write, and rewrite.


What is your favorite childrenís book?

No fair Ė I canít possibly pick just one!

I love Kevin Henkeís books, especially Chrysanthemum. Ian Falconerís Olivia books are terrific. Flat Stanley and Amelia Bedelia are favorites from when I was a kid.

For older kids, I really like Geography Club by Brent Hartinger, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.


I think I want to write childrenís books. Any advice?

Read. If you want to write picture books, read picture books. If you want to write for young adults, see what theyíre reading. Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write some more. Find a critique group (bookstores and libraries are great places to start). Smile when your fellow writers tell you whatís wrong with your story Ė then make it better. Join the Society of Childrenís Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org). Itís a terrific organization that offers endless educational and networking opportunities. Donít give up. Every successful author I know has collected dozens (if not hundreds) of rejection letters. Donít take it personally. Getting your manuscript to the right editor at the right publisher at the right time requires both research and luck. Persevere.


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