A. High school English teacher, lawyer
A. Writing for kids!
A. I went to a big public high school in Brooklyn, NY, and then to Yale.
A. Bob Dylan. I didn't get him when I was a kid (he's a generation ahead of me), but now I do.
A. I love movies, and I don't have just one favorite. But here are a few: The Godfather (I and II), Annie Hall, ET, Tootsie, Casablanca, Best in Show.
A. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
A. Write. Read. Revise. Play with cat. Delete. Write.
A. You don't have to figure it all out at once.
A. A balmy, sunny afternoon in July. I plunge into a cool, empty, bug-free pool and swim uninterrupted for as long as I want.
A. Amusement park rides, especially roller coasters.
A. Italy, probably Rome or Venice.
A. Dara Torres. She's an Olympic champion, a great sport, and an inspiring mom.
A. Definitely, exactly, unbelievably, incredibly.
A. Never learning to touch-type.
A. The ability to throw a great party.
A. Raising three terrific kids.
A. A sense of humor.
A. A cat. They have an unlimited capacity to entertain themselves, and they never have insomnia.
A. My messy red hair and my height.
A. Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. She's smart, but not as smart as she thinks.
A. Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. She's a sympathetic villain, kind of how Elizabeth Bennet is an imperfect heroine. I like characters who are somewhere in the middle.
A. It would be amazing to meet William Shakespeare. And I'd probably say something brilliant like, "Um, excuse me, um, uh, could I please (gasp) have your autograph?"
A. Crumbs in the butter.
A. Ice cream flavor testing. Is that a profession? It ought to be!
A. A generous spirit, a good sense of humor, and tact.
A. There’s a huge, noisy diner near my house that my whole family loves. Every time we go there I order the same meal: a big green salad and a thick, spicy seafood soup full of mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops and other chewy creatures I don’t want to think too hard about. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s my favorite meal—especially when I’m also able to sneak a few sips of my kids’ vanilla milkshakes.
A. All-time favorites: Jane Austen, Vladimir Nabokov, William Shakespeare, George Eliot, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Contemporary favorites: Alice Munro, Jonathan Lethem Favorite YA: Sarah Dessen, Meg Rosoff, Catherine Murdock, Laurie Halse Anderson, Hilary McKay, Betty Smith Favorite Children's Authors: Louise Fitzhugh, Astrid Lindgren, Jules Feiffer, EB White, Cynthia Rylant, Frances O'Roark Dowell
A. Pride and Prejudice Middlemarch Little Women Harriet The Spy Pippi Longstocking
A. All the Words: The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus
A. Never fall in love with your first draft.
A. Will there be a sequel?
A. I was thinking about the heroine of my first book, Just Another Day in My Insanely Real Life, who, despite her messy family life, was actually pretty lucky: she knew that she was a talented writer, and that knowledge helped her get through some rocky times. And then I started thinking: what would it feel like to have an amazing talent but not know it? Or maybe know it but not understand it? It would be especially hard if you were going to a school where all the kids were "gifted and talented" in obvious, typical ways. I began imagining a girl who was used to hanging back in the shadows, holding onto a long-time best-friendship that wasn't really working anymore--until one day a strange new boy exposes her secret ability. The more I thought about this story the more it seemed to be about the exciting, scary process of figuring out who you are and where you fit--which I think anyone in any middle school can relate to.