(Click each question to reveal answers)
December 25th. Yes, Christmas Day.
Four amazing grown children, two girls and twin boys. And six grandchildren: Hope, June, Will, Lila, Ben, and Julia.
Over the years we’ve had ducks, rabbits, a bearded lizard, tropical fish, corn snakes, parrots, turtles, and canaries. Now, we have a dog named Wally.
Wally is a Beagle and Basset mix.
I like to read and travel and go for walks on the beach.
I write in my office, which is also an extra bedroom in my house. When I look out my window, I see our two apricot trees and our garden, and a small bit of the Pacific Ocean.
Yes. Before high school I was a babysitter and exercise instructor. During high school, I worked in a department store. In college I worked at many jobs: as a salesgirl in a bridal department, checker at a hardware store, secretary, and teacher’s assistant. After college, I was a bilingual Head Start teacher. Then I was a wife and a mother (and I still am.) After I received my master’s degree, I was a director of an early childhood program. Then I became a writer. Finally.
That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite child. It’s too hard to choose as I love them all for different, yet wonderful reasons.
My first children’s book was One Hundred Is A Family.
I am half Mexican. When I was growing up, I was very fortunate that my grandmother spoke Spanish to me. I understand it and can read it more fluidly than I speak it, because I don’t have many opportunities to practice.
As a schoolgirl, I never kept a journal, made a book in class, or had an author visit my school. Curriculum was different then and those types of activities weren’t introduced. I never knew that an author was something I could be someday. So, when students ask me, “were you always a writer?” the answer is, not exactly. But I could imagine just about anything. I was a benevolent queen, an explorer, or a doctor saving people from precarious deaths. It never occurred to me to write a story on paper, but I pretended many, right in my own backyard. I didn’t know it at the time, but all that dramatic play was a great foundation for writing.
Most writers want to scream when they hear this question. First, because it’s the most common question people ask, and second, because there’s no easy answer. What people are really asking is, “How does your brain work?” Ideas come in many forms.
Sometimes one book leads to another. Sometimes a historical character chooses me, instead of the other way around. Sometimes I read something that triggers more research which leads me down a path. Sometimes a publisher solicits a type of book. For instance when my editor asked me if I’d ever considered writing a horse story, which led to PAINT THE WIND. Sometimes a personal experience or family story will lead to a book. Sometimes a number of ideas converge, becoming a confluence of rivers, and ultimately a story. No easy answer . . .