Q&A

So, what do you do in your real life?


Well, when not writing something or other, I am mother to three precocious rabbit-hole jumpers; wife to one book-reviewing, software-engineering, tree-hugging gardener; friend and sister and other relation to many fantabulous and extra-unordinary people; and all-around busy body.




What other things keep you busy?


Our family spends a lot of time working and playing around the house; wandering in the woods; reading, crafting, experimenting, gardening, making messes and cleaning them up; park-going; keeping up with current local, state, national, global, and interplanetary and interstellar events as best we can; and just generally exploring, observing, listening, learning, wondering, questioning, and sharing.




What’s the hardest thing about writing?


Staying focused. (See above.)




Do you illustrate books?


A resounding NO. I sketch ideas now and again, but I’m a word-smith. I prefer to trust those words to another illustrator




What's your favorite educational stuff to work on?


Mostly, I like to write content. I love working with primary sources. I thrive on telling stories, doing cross-curricular work, and crafting integrative and analytical activities and assessment. My favorite subject areas are world and U.S. history, geography, and civics. I also enjoy economics, social sciences, and Earth and physical sciences. I tend to write most naturally for grades 6 and above, but I have a great deal of experience and like working on texts for younger ages. I have a soft spot for cultural material that explores world religions and mythologies, folklore, and the like. In the past few years, I have devoted a great deal of time to authoring online textbooks and curricular tools. I enjoy the flexibility and media options that online publishing offers, but I would love to get my hands on some basal print texts again, too.




What was your favorite subject in school?


History, of course. (World history, to be more precise, though whatever social studies course I had was the favorite of the year.)




What’s the first song you ever remember hearing?


“On the Road Again,” by Willie Nelson, while riding on the sticky hot leather brown breaking pealing seats of our Mazda station wagon along I-40 in Texas




What do you like to read?


Ooooh, you’ll have to visit me on Goodreads. My favorite fun genre is adult and YA fantasy and sci-fi. However, I also love children’s literature, including picture books, early readers, and middle grade fiction. In nonfiction, I steer toward material in the social sciences, but I also enjoy accessible texts in the physical sciences along with theoretical and philosophical works.




Okay, well, what are some authors you like?


You're kidding, right? Too many. Some favorites include Jason Reynolds, Theodora Goss, Elizabeth Acevedo, Andy Mulligan, Markus Zusak, John Green, Stacy McAnulty, Ann Braden, Laura Resau, Miranda Paul, Susan Verde, Ryan T. Higgins, Ed Vere, Matt de la Pena, Alison Oliver, Shanda McCloskey, Dev Petty, Dan Santat, Jeanette Winter, Saadia Faruqi, and the Fan Brothers. Older favorites include Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Cornelia Funke, Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, Dr. Seuss, George Orwell, Howard Zinn, Arnold Lobel, Kurt Vonnegut, Lois Lowry, Ursula K. LeGuin, Mac Barnett, Harper Lee, Sherman Alexie, John J. Muth, Annie Proulx, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Nikki Giovanni, John Steinbeck, Neal Shusterman, Charles Dickens, Eric Carle, Patrick McDonnell, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen, Langston Hughes, Michael Chabon, Mark Twain, Maurice Sendak, Jan Brett, Eve Bunting, Julia Donaldson, Laurie Krebs, William Blake, Frank X. Walker, Naoko Stoop, Robert Frost, Sylvia Long, Todd Parr, Peter H. Reynolds, Madeleine L’Engle, Malcolm Gladwell, and so many more.




What's something strange that you do?


I have a penchant for rearranging furniture, picture, things like that around the house. (Also, my husband likes to hide the hammer from me for said reason.)




What annoys you?


Willful ignorance. Dismissive attitudes. Lack of empathy.




Where have you lived?


A bunch of places. I've moved around a good bit though not much in recent years. I've lived in Germany (when it was still West Germany) as well as several states from coast to coast. I've spent most of my time in the Washington, D.C., area and Dayton, Ohio.




Where would you like to visit?


Everywhere? Again, long list. I suppose, at this point, I'd like to start with the Redwoods. Amazingly, I haven't gotten there yet.




What else are you working on?


Aside from my contract work, which tends to comprise two to three concurrent projects, I am working on multiple children’s picture book manuscripts and revising my middle grade crossover fantasy novel, Sycamore and Barrel. It’s the first in a trilogy entitled Shadows Prey. I have pages of other ideas that I am anxious to work on.