Have you read any of my books? (I hope so!)
Will I be doing a virtual author visit at your school soon? (That would be cool!)
I get a lot of questions from kids. (Maybe you would like to know the answers, too!)
Your author friend,
I live in the Bear River Mountain Range in the southeast corner of Idaho. The closest town, Preston, is 13 miles away. My house is surrounded by mountains, and I can walk out my back door and go for a hike to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Or, I can wander around on our wildlife preserve we call The Raven’s Roost.
A bunch! We have seen mountain lions, bobcats, moose, elk, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, weasels (in the winter when they are white, they are called ermine), jackrabbits, porcupines, sandhill cranes, eagles, hawks, owls and lots of other birds and ducks. We are focusing our land management to provide good habitat for upland game birds, and have sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ringneck pheasant on our preserve. This is a mountain lion we saw hanging out near our mailbox!
Did you know there are 40 names for mountain lions? Cougars, pumas, panthers and catamounts are all the same animal!
I do most of my writing at home, almost always with a dog by my side. My study has big picture windows and from my desk, I can see beautiful mountain views. Sometimes I may be distracted by a moose or elk wandering around!
But, I have written in many, many places! One of my favorite places was at the “riverside desk” I made while camping in Alaska!
I was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri (in pink on the map) then went to college and lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma (yellow), for six years. Then, my husband and I moved to Maine (green). We lived in Kennebunk and Wells, Maine for eight years before returning to Springfield, where we lived for 26 years. We now live in Idaho (blue).
Yes. My husband is Ross B. Young. He is an artist. He paints oil paintings you put in frames on walls. But, he also illustrated two of my books: S is for Show Me, A Missouri Alphabet and Show Me the Number, A Missouri Number Book.
I hope you’re good at math!!! I was born the day before Valentine’s Day, six years after the half-century mark in the 1900s. Can you figure out how old I am?
We have three dogs: Skye, Doc, and Pip. Just like for characters in my books, choosing a name is important, and each of our dogs has a special story about how it got its name.
I drove seven hours to Laramie, WY, to get a labrador retriever puppy. Looking at the western skies, which seem so big, I came up with Skye’s name.
Doc, an English setter, is named after the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because his face looks like he has a split personality.
Pip was the runt of a Brittany litter. Because she was so small, we named her Pip, short for Pipsqueak.
This is a poem I wrote for my parents when I was six—it’s the earliest of my writing that I have.
This is me when I was ten, the age I was when I showed my grandma another poem I had written. She encouraged me to keep writing, and I have been writing ever since. I had some poems published in magazines when I was grown up, and became a published author in 2001 with my first book,S is for Show Me, A Missouri Alphabet
Yes—kind of! Basil B. Barnwhitten from my book The Hidden Bestiary starred in a video trailer and I had a bit part at the end! Have you seen it yet?
Ideas are everywhere! Look around! You’ll find ideas at school, at the store, in paintings and photographs. They are outside and inside, come from real experiences and from your daydreams. Ideas float by in the wind, swim in the bathtub and hide in conversations. The idea for Promise started by stopping at this fire tower on my way to speak at a school. Seeing a crow fly from its top, I imagined a kid up there and wrote a book about him.
Some people confuse “hard” with “having to think.” Writing isn’t hard, but you do have to think. A lot! Writing takes effort, thought, choosing words carefully, rereading, rewriting, revising, and editing. The hardest part is taking time to do these things. I find time to think in lots of places, like with my morning tea in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
Getting a story accepted for publication, as well as seeing it as book for the first time is always super exciting. So is winning awards and “catching” kids reading my books! I’ve had a blast traveling to schools all over the country to talk about being an author, and now I’m excited to talk with students virtually!
Two things, however, really stand out as the most exciting. One was having R is for Rhyme, A Poetry Alphabet put to music and performed in dance. The other was when LeVar Burton read A Pet for Miss Wright on Reading Rainbow in honor of National Reading Month!
I like to hike, fish, camp, snowshoe, and travel, mainly to remote places where I can hike, fish, camp and snowshoe! I always have a good book to read, love to play cards and board games and play with my dogs.