Have a question for me? The answer might be here!
PS: Check the "about" page for lots more information and pictures!
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
I find ideas everywhere: from something interesting I read in the newspaper, from a conversation with a friend, from a book I am reading, from a memory that comes to me. And, most of all, from my imagination. One of the ways a story often starts for me is with a “what if” question. For example, “What if the Petersons had to foster the most spoiled puppy ever?” That “what if” question turned into the book Princess.
A lot of times if I don't have any ideas, I go for a walk or a bike ride or a ski. As soon as I start moving outdoors, the ideas start bouncing into my brain. I carry a little notebook everywhere so I can write down ideas as soon as I think of them.
Q: Can I write you? What is your address? Will you be my pen pal?
If you would like to send me a letter, you can write to me at the address below. If you can enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope that's a big help! I answer every letter I get, so if you don't hear back it might mean your letter got lost in the mail or you didn't include your return address. Please try again!
c/o Scholastic Inc.
New York, NY 10012-3999
I love to write and receive letters, and I wish I could be pen pals with ALL my fans - but I am pretty busy with my writing. Maybe your parents can help you find a good pen pal site online so you can find a fun person to write to.
Q: Are the stories in the Puppy Place true? Are Charles and Lizzie real people?
The stories are made up, but sometimes they are based on true stories. As for the characters, Charles and Lizzie are also made up, but they are both a lot like me, in different ways. I can be bossy, like Lizzie. And I like to tell jokes and write letters, like Charles. And the puppy characters are made up, but I do a lot of research to learn about what poodles are like, or how boxers act.
Q: What inspired you to write the Puppy Place books?
I love dogs, and I knew I would never get tired of writing about them. Every dog has a special personality. That keeps the books interesting and fresh and makes them fun to write. I love to learn about the different breeds, especially when it means I get to do research by meeting puppies. Here's a picture of me with some dachshund puppies I went to visit when I was writing Ziggy. Aren't they adorable?
Q: How long does it take you to write a Puppy Place book?
Goldie, the first one, took almost a year! But now that I know the Peterson family and understand how the stories work, each book takes about three or four months.
Q: When did you start writing?
I have been a full-time writer for twenty years, but Puppy Place is my most well-known series so far. The very first thing I remember writing for others was a play about Tom Sawyer, for my fourth-grade class to put on.
Q: I want to be a writer. What should I do?
Read, read, read and write, write, write! That's the best way to learn how stories are made. There are also lots of great websites for kids who want to write. Ask your parents, a teacher, or a librarian for help finding one that's right for you.
Q: Do you like being an author?
It’s the best job ever! First of all, I love to read and write. Second, I love this job because I can set my own schedule. If it’s a beautiful day, I can go for a bike ride and write later. Third, I don’t have to dress up to go to work. I can even wear my pajamas all day, if I want!
Q: Will you write a Puppy Place book about my dog? Or a Kitty Corner book about my cat or kitten?
There are so many great pets out there! I love to hear about your pets, and I would love to write about them all. But I have a lot of future books already planned out, so it may take a while before I get around to writing about your Australian Cattle Dog or Maine Coon Cat. Maybe you can write a story about your pet!
Q: What is your favorite Puppy Place or Kitty Corner book?
My favorite Puppy Place book is Zipper, the one I wrote based on my very own dog! My favorite Kitty Corner book is Domino. He's just so cute!
Q: Do I need to read the Puppy Place books in any special order? What about Kitty Corner?
Not really. They can be read in any order. But if you want to read them in the order I wrote them, here's the Puppy Place list: Goldie, Snowball, Shadow, Rascal, Buddy Flash, Scout, Patches, Pugsley, Maggie and Max, Noodle, Princess, Cody, Honey, Bear, Lucky, Jack, Sweetie, Chewy and Chica, Baxter, Muttley, Ziggy, Bella, Moose, Bandit, Cocoa, Rocky, Lucy, Teddy, Mocha, Oscar, and Molly! Coming over the 2013-14 school year: Gizmo, Cooper, Zipper, and Liberty. For Kitty Corner, the order is: Callie, Otis, Duchess, and Domino!
Q: Are you still writing Puppy Place books, now that you also have Kitty Corner?
Absolutely! I still have so many puppies to write about.
Q: What kind of puppy are you writing about right now?
I'm writing about a Labradoodle named Gus!
Q: Do you have any pets? Do you still have Django?
I have a wonderful new puppy, a hound mix named Zipper. He is cute and smart and I love him very much. I'm sad to say that my black Lab Django died a while ago. He was very old and we had a lot of great times together. I have had many dogs in my life and I have loved them all very much. It can be very sad to lose a dog you have loved and lived with for many years. But I treasure my happy memories of all the dogs I've known.
Q: Have you ever fostered any dogs?
Yes! The best time was when I lived out in the country. One day two puppies, brother and sister, wandered into my yard. One was brown and one was black. They were proably a Lab/pit bull mix. When I tracked down their owner, she said that they needed homes. So I volunteered to foster them. They stayed with me for several weeks until I found them homes. They played all day and nearly wrecked my house but I loved having them around. And because their new forever families lived nearby, I got to see them grow up into wonderful dogs.
I love to match dogs or puppies with good owners. Once I matched up a stray Lab mix puppy with some friends of mine. They named her Bessie and they had seventeen great years together! Whenever Bessie saw me or even heard my voice she would come running to kiss me all over.
Q: What made you want to be an author?
I wanted to be an author because I love to read and write! (You can see her picture here).
Q: What is your favorite wild animal?
I love otters! They are one of the only animals that plays (dolphins do, too!). One day when I was out cross-country skiing last winter I saw some tracks two otters had made, sliding down a long, snowy hill just like you or I might go sledding.
Question of the Month
I really want to read your newest book! Can you send me a copy?
a big fan, Daniel
Dear Daniel, I wish I could send books to every reader who asks for them - but I just don't have enough copies! If you ask your town or school librarian, maybe they will order the book you want to read. You could also find out if you have any friends who would like to trade books. Your friend, Ellen Miles