Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Are You Working On Now?

I'm currently working on a big edit of my novel Clouds. Editing is something I often sing the praises of with my students, and of course, I know it's crucial to writing your best, but....it's so hard! I even kind of hate it, so will be very glad when it's done.

After that, I'm going to begin a novel for younger readers - Grades 4 and 5 - and then maybe work on a couple of picture book manuscripts. It's been a while since I did one of those, and it's time!

2. How do you get your ideas?

I get my ideas from all the kids around me - my own children, my nieces and nephews, the children I teach and sometimes kids at author readings. I am also inspired by memories of my own childhood, which was quite a while ago now, but doesn't seem that long at all! For me, there is nothing as powerful to write about as a personal experience.

Visit this page for more details about the ideas behind each of my books.

3. Which book is your favourite?

Often my latest book is my favourite. It's fun to read the new story to audiences, as I've read many of my stories so many times that I hardly need the books anymore! Also, I hope I'm becoming a better and better writer as I keep at it, so I hope each new book is a little better than the last one.

That said, Number 21 is a special favourite because it is about my real family when I was a girl. My Dad did most of the work on that one, I just wrote it all down many years later.

Nancy reading from Number 21

4. Do you get to choose your own illustrators?

I can certainly make suggestions about the illustrator, but in the end the editor decides on the illustrator. I get to see at least some of the art before the book is published, but mostly that part of the book is controlled by the illustrator, with some help from the editor.

I have always been very lucky with my illustrators - they've done a wonderful job. Clearly, they don't need my help at all!

5. Is it okay to send you a letter or a drawing?

I'd love it. I get lots of these; below are a few from a class who studied my books. Here are some of their words and drawings about Number 21.




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If you have any other questions that you would like to ask e-mail me.

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