Whether you’re here on purpose or you stumbled across me on accident, I hope you find the experience to be both enjoyable and informative. For the curious among you, I thought it might be worth posting a little “get to know me” Q&A. So here you go.
What are your top 5 favorite books?
Usually whatever I’m currently reading has a good chance of making my favorites list, but I will always LOVE Okay for Now (by Gary Schmidt), The Wednesday Wars (also by Gary Schmidt), Three Times Lucky (by Sheila Turnage), Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin (by Liesl Shurtliff), and The Candymakers (by Wendy Mass). I enjoy reading humor, so anything that makes me laugh is awesome.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Anything but a math teacher. But I grew up to be a math teacher anyway—go figure! Actually, I had a great teacher in high school that made math easy for me. I decided I wanted to try to make math easy for others too.
What are you afraid of?
Spiders. Seriously. Anything with eight legs gets squished.
Have you ever held a tarantula?
Yes. In a crazy attempt to overcome my fear of spiders I held one. Worse mistake of my life…and his unfortunately. (Just kidding. The spider lived.)
What’s your favorite food?
I love Chinese food, chocolate, and Hawaiian pizza (not all at once though—that’d be gross).
Do you have a favorite college football team?
Hook ’em Horns! My husband is a University of Texas at Austin alumnus and our family tends to bleed orange. I graduated from the University of North Texas (after attending University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado, and a handful of community colleges here and there). Let’s just say I was “indecisive”. My apologies to Scrappy the Eagle, Albert and Alberta Gator, Ralphie the Buffalo, and Knightro the Golden Knight, but Bevo has my heart.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No, BUT I’ve always enjoyed writing.
When did you start writing?
In Kindergarten while practicing my ABCs on a Big Chief writing pad.
No, seriously, when did you start writing?
Okay, fine. Not including school related projects, my first attempt at creative writing was in 2004 when I came up with something for my kids that I called Why Tiny Was So Big. It was a short story in rhyming verse that tried to capture the Biblical story of Jonah from the perspective of the fish. I never seriously sought opportunity for publication with that story, but it was fun to do and a family friend drew up some great illustrations. Needless to say it whet my appetite for writing and in 2006 I began working on the concept for what eventually became Whole-y Cow! Fractions Are Fun.
Do you get rejections?
Yep—it’s part of the game. But I’ve learned to develop “rhino skin” over the years and don’t take them personally.
Does it take you a long time to write a book?
I would say it depends on what you mean by “write”. The concept usually comes together pretty quick for me, but the fine-tuning of a manuscript can take quite a while. Dead Possums Are Fair Game was started in 2010 and took a few years to nail down. I didn’t finish final edits on that one until Summer 2015! How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer was started in 2013 and was worked on all the way through early 2016.
When you’re done with a story, do you immediately send it out?
No! I am lucky enough to work with a group of talented writers. We critique each others stories and help one another make our stories better and stronger. Having your creative work critiqued by others can sting sometimes (oftentimes!), but it’s worth it.
What’s an agent and do you have one?
An agent is someone who represents an author and takes their stories to publishers. It’s really hard (but not impossible) to get published without one. My agent is Sally Apokedak (pronounced A-Pock-Uh-Dock) with the Apokedak Literary Agency and she rocks!
Are you working on a book now?
What’s it about?
It’s a mystery titled Remains To Be Seen!
Days before school is set to begin for thirteen-year old Coop Goodman in the small town of Windy Bottom, a skeleton is uncovered at the abandoned playground. All signs point to murder and Coop’s beloved Gramps is the number one suspect!