Interview on BookNAround

DSC_0020Thank you to my friend Kristen Knox, who interviewed me on her blog, BookNAround.  Kristen must be the most voracious reader I know—-take a look at her blog and you’ll see what I mean. If you want to know about any new book out there, chances are Kristen has already read it. She is a fellow member of the Charlotte chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

AASL: Revving Up to Write Bibliography


The AASL conference was a fun blur of activity. I saw some dear old friends and met lots of new people, too. Thank you to everyone who attended my signings and concurrent session. Thanks especially to media specialist Debra Heimbrook, who presented along with me.

Debbie shared some books at the end of our session that she recommends for teaching and talking about writing. Since we didn’t get to include those in our online handout, I’m listing them here:

Brown, Marc. Arthur Writes a Story. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1996.

Allen, Susan and Jane Lindaman.  Written Anything Good Lately?  Minneapolis, MN:  Millbrook Press, 2006.

Rylant, Cynthia.  In November.  New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2000.

Wong, Janet.  You Have to Write.  New York:  Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2002.

Clements, Andrew.  Frindle.  New York:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1996.

Bruel, Nick. Who Is Melvin Bubble? New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press, 2006.

Anything in the Dear America series for writing letters, diaries, journals

Pictures from AASL to follow.

Writing Exercise: Missing Person

Notebook handwriting

Television gets a bad rap, but I have to admit, I actually love it—some of it, anyway. And it’s not a total creativity-killer. Case in point: this writing exercise.

I think I’ve watched way too much Without a Trace, because I sometimes find myself wondering—if I disappeared, what would the missing persons unit make of my calendar, credit history, notes left around the house, grocery list, last words to my neighbors, last facebook entry, trash can contents?

It’s easy to apply these questions to your characters to find out more about them. It reminds me of a scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s where Holly Golightly hands over her accounting log to Sally Tomato, the gangster she visits in jail. Sally takes the log book, filled with notes on Holly’s expenses, and says to novelist Paul Varjak: “Someday…you take this book, turn it into a novel. Everything is there, just fill in the details.”

Reading to Write

with Helen

Here I am with the talented Helen Hemphill, author of Long Gone Daddy, Runaround, and the forthcoming The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones.  Check her out at

Helen and I presented a session on how our reading affects our writing at the conference for the South Carolina Association for School Librarians. This was somewhat of a homecoming for me, as I spent long hours as a child waiting for my mother to finish her SCASL board meetings. Thanks go out to my mom again for helping with the kiddos. I couldn’t have done it without her help wrangling them.

Helen and I had a lot of fun leading the session. I only wish I could’ve stayed to hang out longer.