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P.S. Longer Letter Later/Snail Mail No More:

Will there be a third book?

Paula and I had a lot of fun writing these two books, but we both felt we had finished telling the story of Elizabeth and Tara*Starr. Sadly, Paula passed away in July of 2004. I am so grateful to have been able to work with her on these two projects.


Is Elizabeth based on you?

There's a lot of me in Elizabeth and a lot of Paula in Tara*Starr in terms of our contrasting personalities.


How did you and Paula write the books together?

I love to work from a detailed outline, but Paula enjoyed letting her stories unfold as she wrote. After first discussing what we thought our characters were like, where they lived, how they dressed, and even what color hair they had, we began our journey into the unknown on a letter-by- letter basis.


The Doll People:

How did you get the idea for these books?

My editor originally suggested the idea of a picture book about dolls. Then Laura Godwin (my co-author) and I started talking about a story with two different doll families, one old-fashioned, and one new-fangled. That's how the Doll and Funcraft families came to be.


How did you and Laura Godwin write the books together?

I wrote the stories from a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline provided by Laura. We also talked back and forth throughout the process, offering suggestions and exchanging ideas.


Will there be a third book?

I'm happy to say that Laura Godwin, Brian Selznick, and I will be collaborating on a new book. It will be called The Runaway Dolls.


Can I buy the dolls and the dollhouses?

Brian Selznick, the illustrator, did an incredible job creating the dolls and the dollhouses, so I can certainly see why people are interested. Unfortunately, there is no merchandise available.


Belle Teal:

How did you come up with the idea?

A former English professor of mine asked me to contribute to a book she was editing. The short story I wrote tells of a young girl, Belle Teal, growing up in a rural area in the 1960's. I was very taken with Belle Teal, and interested in further developing her character to explore her relationship with a beloved grandmother suffering from what we now know to be the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. I was also interested in writing about the early days of desegregation and its effect on one town. After discussions with my editor, we agreed that Belle Teal would become a novel.


How did you get the feel for this story?

After doing some research, I felt that I would be able to tell the story of this historic civil rights event through Belle Teal's own experiences. She was different from any character I had ever written about before, but once I found her voice, the writing process was very similar to that of my other books.


Will you ever write a sequel?

As of now, there are no plans to write a sequel to Belle Teal.


A Corner of the Universe:

What was your inspiration?

I was nine years old, just a little younger than Hattie, when I was told that I had had an uncle who had died several years before I was born. Learning about his mental illness (which was very misunderstood at this time) and his subsequent suicide inspired me to write this book.


How did you feel when this book won the Newbery Honor?

I found out about the award when a woman from the American Library Association called me at home at 7:30 in the morning to tell me the good news. It marked the beginning of one of the best days I've ever had. I received flowers, candy, telephone calls, and congratulatory e-mails for several days. A couple of months later, I had a wonderful time when I attended the Newbery Awards ceremony in Toronto. So I guess you can say that winning a Newbery Honor is pretty cool!


How did you pick the title?

My editor chose the title from a phrase that Adam uses several times in the book.


Here Today:

Where did you get the idea for this story? Why did you want to write about this time period?

Here Today is my third novel set in the 1960's. I grew up during this time and I was eight years old when President Kennedy was killed. Because my memories of that day are still very vivid, I've always wanted to incorporate that unique time in our history into one of my stories.


Will you ever write a sequel?

As much as I enjoyed writing about Ellie and her neighbors on Witch Tree Lane, I have no plans to write another book about them.

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