First Skype Author Ever at Buchanan-Verplanck students

Posted by Marsha
Celebrator of life. Lover of stories. Mom, wife, feeder of three cats. Author of award-winning picture books a...
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on Sunday, 19 June 2011 in StoryMagician

When Andrea O'Malley asked if I'd consider being the "First Skype Author Ever at Buchanan-Verplanck", I responded, "Absolutely." I love talking across the miles, from California to New York.

Andrea and Susan McCormack did a wonderful job putting together the "happening". We had such fun, but not enough time to answer the many questions. So I'm answering more of them here.

First, I want to share with everyone that many questions about my books and me can be found at Secondly, I want to thank the great kindergarteners and first graders of Buchanan-Verplanck for a fun time. Thanks so Andrea and Susan also.

One of the first questions I'm asked is "How do you choose an illustrator." The students in New York wanted to know the same.

Most people think the author is the one who chooses their illustrator, but it's actually the editor. The editor, who chooses your story to publish, also chooses the illustrator. Editors are aware of the style of illustration they want for the book and they are aware of many illustrators around the world.

Other questions asked:

1) How do you get story ideas, like the one for Prancing, Dancing Lily?

An idea for a story may develop from something I hear or see or remember. I often begin with a title and the title is often the name of a character. My stories are usually character driven. I enjoy getting to know my character and his/her personality helps me develop the plot.

Prancing, Dancing Lily was inspired by the cows I knew on my father's Kansas dairy farm. The book is dedicated to "my father, his Ayrshire dream, and all the cows at Highland Ayr dairy farm". Ayrshires, which originated in County Ayr, Scotland, aren't a well-known breed, but they are beautiful, with a reddish-brown and white coat and horns that often reach over a foot in length.


2) How did you decide to be an author?

As a child, I loved to read, but I never thought about becoming an author until I was grown and had children of my own. They and their friends were what inspired me to write. You can read more about that under "About Me" on my website,

3) How old were you when you wrote your first book?

I'm what some call a late-bloomer. My first book wasn't published until I was in my 40's.

4) Where do you write your books?

Writing is a wonderful profession because you can write wherever you are. But I prefer to write in my office, in my home, surrounded by the beautiful countryside.


5) How many books have you written?

I've had 11 books published and hope to have many more. This summer I'm working on a chapter book for all of you.

6) Do you have any pets?

I adore animals and don't know what I'd do without some animals around. I have three cats. I've had German Shepherds and a Boxer, but have no dog at the moment. I would love to have another dog soon.

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