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FAQs

Q. Do you have any kids?
A. My two fine sons are grown and married. Both families live nearby, so I see my four young grandchildren often. The grands love to plant seeds, water, bake, read, and watch Reading Rainbow. That's good, because I do, too. We planted a fab tomato crop this year.

Q. Do you write every day?
A. Some writers do. I write almost every day. My brain tends to get rolling in the evening, so I often stay up late-I'm an owl, not a bluebird! Sometimes I feel as though I live in a different time zone from my friends and family. Don't ask me to be alert in the early morning!

Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. The swimming pool! (I'm not kidding. I often work out a plot problem while doing water exercises and laps. Thank goodness for my waterproof pen! ) Seriously-having ideas is NOT the problem. Ideas are everywhere. It's what you do with the ideas that counts. You can't just get ideas-you have to use them.

Q. How did you get the idea for the Greek/Latin book?
A. I wrote CryptoMania! Because of kids like you! For years I've worked with elementary school children on learning Greek and Latin word chunks. The kids jump right in-they love the knowing a word's inside story and decoding its meaning.

For instance, pachy is Greek for "thick" and derm is Greek for "skin." We'd talk about pachyderms, those thick-skinned mammals: rhino, hippos, and elephants. But other words came up: dermatology, hypodermic (hypo is under), epidermis (your epidermis is showing!) and others. One boy showed a dino book with a marvelous picture of a pachycephalosaurus. Cephal is "head," so the kids saw that this was a dino with a thick head-the dome on its forehead got thicker with age.

I'd written two grammar books for Ten Speed Press with Judith Josephson, so I sent the idea for Cryptomania! to their children's imprint, Tricycle Press (tri = 3 and cycle = wheel, circle!). This book features five friends who go on wild adventures, picking up Greek and Latin word chunks along the way. I love the illustrations by the multitalented Kim Doner.

I get amazing mail from kids who have thought of cool projects based on this book. They're true CryptoKids! Visit www.CryptoKids.com for more.

Q. What's in your writing pipeline?
A. I'm working on a novel and several picture books. I seem to like doing more than one thing at once! Tons of ideas are waiting for me to catch up! You get great ideas, too, so make your own Idea File. If you get an idea at a birthday party, jot it down on the napkin and stuff the napkin into your file when you get home!

For more information see Something About the Author at your local library.

What else would you like to know? Send me a message.
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