What inspired you to write Rules?
Rules was inspired by my children. I have a daughter and a son, and my son was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old.
How long did it take you to write Rules?
It took about a year before I started submitting it to publishers. I did several drafts in that time. Then after Scholastic bought it, I did several rounds of revisions with my editor. In fact, for the first revision, her notes were so extensive that I had to start the book over.
What was your inspiration for the characters Catherine and David?
The character of David shares many things in common with my son when he was young. My son used to repeat lines from books and videos (including the "Frog and Toad" books by Arnold Lobel), and he used to drop toys in our family goldfish tank.
My daughter was a big help when I was writing the book. She was about 14 at the time and talked to me about the unique joys and challenges of siblings. My son didn't always know when someone wasn't being nice to him, but she knew and felt it for both of them.
What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
I have always loved to read. Some of my childhood favorites were: The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Ramona and Beezus, Charlotte's Web, The Borrowers, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Madeline, Winnie the Pooh, and Fog Magic.
If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?
I love where I live in Maine, but I grew up on a lake in New Hampshire and I miss looking out my front window and watching the water change color with the weather. So I would live on an island in Maine.
If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?
I love Jason in Rules. He's funny and kind and a good friend. I would especially enjoy spending time with him.
Art is important to Catherine. Who are some of your favorite artists? Do you like to draw or paint?
One of the special things about being an author is that you can create characters who can do the things you can't. I'm not talented at painting and drawing, though I wish I were. My daughter and sister have that talent, and I love seeing what they can do with paper and paints.
|Edward Hopper Painting|
You write picture books, chapter books, and books for middle grade readers. Do you have a preference? Is there a way you decide which type of book you are going to write next?
I like the variety of writing for different ages. It keeps the work fresh to work in different ways. Novels are my first love, but I really enjoy writing all different types of books.
I would have a hard time working on two novels at the same times, but I usually have a novel, a chapter book, and a picture book or early reader being worked on at the same time. It's like a revolving door: one book goes off to my editor and another one comes back to me.
Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I have quite a few books in various stages of writing and publishing. We have early readers for Hot Rod Hamster coming. The first one, Hot Rod Hamster and the Wacky Whatever Race, comes out in August 2014 and then there will be three more.
My Shelter Pet Squad series is for ages 6-9. That series features a group of kids who volunteer at their local animal shelter and find a home for an animal in each book. The first book is called Jelly Bean and he is a guinea pig. That book also comes out in August 2014 and then we have at least two more.
I am also working on a new middle-grade novel that is scheduled for 2015. It's full of heart and deep questions and warm humor, like my other novels. We haven't agreed on a title for it yet, but it's set in Downeast Maine where the blueberry industry is very important. Migrant workers arrive in the late summer to rake blueberries, and the book is a friendship story between a girl who lives there and a girl whose family comes to work on the blueberry barrens.
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