Do you design the covers of your books? No. I am not an artist. Sometimes, I get to have a say in what the cover will look like but not always!
Are you still alive? Yes, I'm so happy to report that I am alive! I'm always interested when I get this question because how could I write back if I were dead? I am married and have wonderful children.
Do you like being a writer? I love being a writer. I can invent characters whom I really care about. I can make life happen the way I wish it would. Of course, sometimes, I hate being a writer. The plot stops working. The character's problems can't get solved. The wording isn't the way I want it to be. The satisfaction of having written something that connects with readers is really exciting, but the actual writing is often hard work!
What is your life like as a writer? I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, and to many students' surprise, I spend more time re-writing and revising than I do actually coming up with ideas for stories. The ideas are the easy part. When I'm not writing, I do many author visits, which is fun because I get to meet student readers at schools throughout the U.S. and even in other countries.
What are your favorite things you've heard about your books? Most of all, I love to hear that people are reading them! For Danger in the Desert, a teacher told me that her class volunteered to skip recess because they were so involved in the book, they wanted her to finish reading it, and a high-school developmental reading class took their favorite parts of the book and turned them into squares on a huge quilt. For After the Death of Anna Gonzales, I got very heart-wrenching letters. A woman wrote to say that she thought if her son had read the book, he would still be alive.
Will you come to my school? I would love to visit your school. Have your teacher or librarian contact me at email@example.com.
Were you born before 1960? Yes, I was. Sorry, if you needed me to be born later, but maybe you can use my work for a different speech competition in Texas.
If I send you my idea, will you write the book for me? Only you can turn your ideas into the wonderful books you are imagining, so start writing!
Do you know of a place where teens can get published? First of all, know that the world of trying to get published is often a world of rejection. Even the very famous Dr. Seuss got his first book rejected over 20 times. So write because you love it. Don't worry too much about the publication aspect. That being said, a great place for teens to submit work is Teen Ink. http://www.teenink.com/
If you have questions you'd like to see on this website, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and tell me what you'd like to know. I'd love to hear from you!