Why I Became a Writer: I like cookies. When I was five years old there was a toddler that lived across the street that cried all the time. I remember the little girl’s mother sitting out on front porch, looking exhausted one morning. I walked over and asked her if her daughter would like me to tell her a story. I’m sure this young mom thought I was a strange but her daughter seemed to like my story enough to listen instead of cry. The mom said she would pay me with cookies if I came back the next day. I came back all summer. Stories and cookies. What could be better?
Why I write for people that are younger than I am: I like teenagers. There is something brutal and wonderful about not having a clue who you are.
Do I really fish and row? The first time my dad took me fishing I hooked him in the eyebrow. Several years later he took me again. These days I usually hook more fish than people, but I’m strictly catch and release, either way. I love to get into trouble on my kayak. It’s a great way to sneak up on birds and muskrats.
When I’m not writing, I love to read, run, fish, row, hike, ski, ride horses, and spy on wildlife. There isn’t actually a job that pays me to do these things, so I write about them, and do plenty of research. My kids and I have great Adventures (when we say it with a capital A it means that something went badly and made the trip more interesting). I also love teaching, which I’ve done since I got my MFA in Creative Writing a million and one years ago.
Am I a real birder? I’ve always loved watching birds but I never really studied them until I started writing GIRLS DON’T FLY. Then I went out with birding groups and the biding genius that taught biology at my high school, Merrill Webb, took me under his wing. By far the best part about doing research for GDF was that I actually went to the Galapagos Islands with my son. It was A. MAZ. ING.