Category: Favorite Books


036 (7)As a reader, I find certain books linger with me for months, for years, and occasionally for decades. Books have kept me afloat when I wondered how much longer I could hold on. They have taught me about decency and integrity. Books have shown me how survival is possible even when the odds suggest otherwise. Books have also taught me the elegance and beauty and power of language, not just for the message it contains but for the simple way it rolls off the tongue, the way it delights and excites every sense. Do I expect to have the same impact on my readers that certain writers have had on me? No. But I am grateful for every reader and for each opportunity to communicate and to share. If the reader feels less alone as he or she spends time inside one of my books, that’s enough for me.

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I think about that often. In fact at one point I considered writing a book in which a selection of characters from some of my favorite novels (written by other authors) live in a high rise apartment house called Century Towers. These characters begin to fade over time and when the day comes when no one reads their books they vanish completely; their apartments left silent and empty.

As for my own characters, I don’t wonder at all about them after I’ve completed the book. Funny, isn’t it?

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Ideas come from so many places. Sometimes, when I’m reading the work of other writers, I feel a finger of inspiration tickle my brain. I’ve transformed magazine and newspaper articles into novels and picture books. Concerts, lectures, documentaries, television and radio interviews can also become story catalysts. Occasionally a fan letter will open up a possible avenue to a story, or an overheard conversation in the doctor’s office, or someone sitting across the aisle from me in the theater. I trawl my own life, both my childhood and my adult years, for story ideas, too. Not every experience leads directly to a book, but every experience holds that potential within it.

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Reading and writing are like air/boat/train tickets. I can travel anywhere with these tickets in hand, to the past, to the future, deep within the human spirit or in and out of the heart of a city. Reading makes this travel possible every day, with no hidden fees. The only fare I am asked to pay is time. And I am happy to pay it. As much time as I can afford…sometimes a bit more.

Writing requires that I travel both with my mind and with my body. It’s harder work, but oh, so satisfying.

KATHERINE PATERSON!

She had me at The Master Puppeteer, The Sign of the Chrysanthemum, and Of Nightingales that Weep.

I admire many authors and illustrators, but Katherine, like no one else, leaves me wide-eyed and speechless with wonder and awe.

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When I was little my favorite author was Dr. Seuss.

My favorite book of his was Horton Hatches the Egg.

 

I find this question nearly impossible to answer because I love ALL of my books. But the one I’m currently working on, the one that patiently stands while I comb my twitchy fingers through its tangled mane, that one is usually the closest to my heart. Until I complete it and begin grooming the next.