What’s your favourite animal?
Can you guess? Look at the picture! (It’s the subject of the first book I wrote.)
How many books have you written?
I’ve written 32 books, and I hope to write many more!
Which book is your favourite?
Every book is special! When I’m working on a new book, it’s my favourite. When a book is first published, it’s my favourite. At the moment, I am very excited about two books: Cooking with Bear which is both a story and cookbook for kids. I’m also happy about my newest book called West Coast Wild Babies. It is full of baby animals born on the Pacific west coast in the spring and includes: wolf pups, bear cubs, cougar kittens, eaglets, whale calves, salmon fry and more. It has beautiful art by Karen Reczuch and is a companion to our earlier book West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet. Here is the cover of West Coast Wild Babies and the sweet, sleepy sea otter pup with its mother.
Where do you get your ideas?
I always have ideas for books, as many authors do. Writers spend a lot of time on their own, thinking and watching and listening to what goes on around them. We have active imaginations and we create books in our minds before we ever write them. (The easy part of writing is having an idea. The harder part is turning an idea into a book.)
Do you draw the pictures?
No, I don’t draw well at all. All the pictures are created by an illustrator, who paints or draws beautifully. My publisher picks the illustrator and chooses someone whose style will suit my writing. It’s always exciting to see the art that brings my words to life. The festive party animals were drawn by Lisa Cinar in our book Bear’s Winter Party, and the orcas in the ocean were painted by Karen Reczuch for our book West Coast Wild.
Do you miss being a teacher?
Sometimes, I really do! I love being around kids. But now that I’m a writer, I still feel like I’m teaching whenever I write a book. I always remember what my students were interested in and what they liked to read, and that helps me write a better book. I feel lucky when I get invited to schools to talk to students about books. It reminds me how much I loved being a teacher.