“Did you always want to be a writer?” When Kids ask me this, I have to admit to them: No, I was a carefree kid. I just hung out and didn’t think much about the future.
Then when I was a teenager I edited one newsletter after another.
As a student at the University of Minnesota, I didn’t know what to major in. An aunt asked me if I had ever considered journalism as a profession, and the writing lights went on.
My journalism training led to a newspaper reporting job, a free-lancing career and finally children’s books.
My Science Streak
I also have a strong interest in science, especially earth science.
I often collect sand and rocks wherever I go—from the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, to the white sand beaches of Florida. I have photographed the cobblestone streets in Turkey, toured limestone caves in Europe to see the prehistoric art on their walls, and walked on volcanoes in Hawaii and Chile. My travels feed me as a writer.
When I was growing up, I borrowed books all the time from the Arlington Hills Public Library on the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota. I enjoyed reading many children’s classics.
My favorite book was “King of the Wind” by Marguerite Henry. I loved not only the story and the language, but also the beautiful illustrations by Wesley Dennis.
When I became a new mother, one of the first books I bought was Margaret Wise Brown’s “The Sailor Dog.” As I read it to my daughter, I realized that I already knew and loved this book, that my parents must have read it to me when I was a small child.
I am convinced that rediscovering “The Sailor Dog” played a major role in my becoming a children’s writer.
I live just a few blocks from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and within walking distance of three Minneapolis public libraries and countless libraries at the University of Minnesota.
I also like to spend time at my cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. It’s a quiet place where I can write, go for a canoe ride with my granddaughters, dig around in my native plants garden, and take lots of walks in the woods. We call the cabin our “skogshytta,” which means forest cabin in Norwegian.