Whatís the best thing about being a
I get to learn about new things,
imagine, create, share ideas. Itís all in a dayís work.
Do you ever get writerís block?
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
What is your favorite childrenís book?
No fair Ė I canít possibly pick just
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.
Do you have a question for Mary?
Send it now.