What did Ann think of #BSCMeeting? Read more!
Questions from the #BSCMeeting Twitter Party:
Q. Were any of the BSC members inspired by people that you knew? And who was your favorite baby-sitter?
A. The character of Kristy is based on my childhood best friend, Beth. Mary Anne is loosely based on me. Kristy is my favorite character since I consider her my alter ego.
Q. Looking back, is there anything you would change or do differently in the books?
A. I enjoyed aging the characters in the Main Street series, which consisted of ten books, so it would have been nice to find a way to age the BSC characters. However, there was an important reason for not aging the characters. With so many books in the series, and with the series being published over many years, my editors and I realized that the characters would have to be frozen in time. Otherwise, they would have become adults fairly quickly.
Q. Do you have daughters/nieces that read the books and what do they have to say about them?
A. The Perkins girls are my goddaughters and I wrote them into the series. As adults, they tell me that it's a lot of fun for them to look back and read about the characters that were inspired by them.
Q. Were you also a horse enthusiast like Mallory?
A. For a brief period of time, I was very into horses. I took riding lessons and collected horses that I displayed in my room. Eventually, I outgrew the passion.
Q. Where would you want to hang out in Stoneybrook?
A. I'd want to hang out at my friends' houses.
Q. Was there ever another character you wanted to add to the club but didn't?
A. I loved the core group of four, and it was fun to add to the club over the years, but I wanted to keep the size fairly small.
Q. Which character changed the most over the course of the series?
A. I think Mary Anne changed the most, from a shy, over-protected child into a much more grownup and much less shy teenager by the end of the series.
Q. Which BSC member makes the best baby-sitter for a rowdy kid?
A. I'd say Kristy, who is most apt to get the kids outside and doing physical activities that keep them very busy and out of trouble!
Q. Where did you get the inspiration for Claudia's outfits?
A. For the most part, I just made up her wardrobe. To get some ideas, I looked through clothing catalogs and I paid attention to what kids were wearing in schools I visited and on TV series. Fans are still obsessed with Claudia's style today!
Q. What made you continue writing the BSC books and extend it further?
A. The popularity of the series took it from an initial four-book series to a publishing schedule of a book a month!
Q. What was your favorite book to write?
A. I enjoyed writing the books with more serious topics (Kristy and the Secret of Susan, Jessi's Secret Language), but my favorite book is still #1 — Kristy's Great Idea — because it was the start of the series.
Q. Why did you pick the name Baby-sitters Club?
A. The title came from my editor at Scholastic, Jean Feiwel. Then it was up to me to decide exactly how a Baby-sitters Club would work — and who would be in it.
Q. Which BSC member do you think would most like Twitter?
A. I think Stacey and Claudia would probably be the most active Twitter users, but my guess is that all the BSC members would be fans.
Q. Which of the families the BSC sits for was your favorite?
A. I have many favorites! The Perkins girls were a lot of fun to write about, but I also liked Jackie Rodowsky, a character who gets into a lot of trouble (but not on purpose). I also liked the relationship between Charlotte Johannson and her favorite sitter, Stacey. And I liked writing about the Pikes, a family with a lot of kids.
Q. Have you ever thought about writing any adult books?
A. I'm asked that question a lot, but it seems every new idea I have is for another children's book.
Q. Do you still write? How do you spend your days?
A. I'm still writing and currently juggling three projects. In the morning, I'm working on a new series, Family Tree. In the afternoon, I'm editing the fourth Doll People book and writing my next novel.
Q. How did you keep track of each character's life?
A. In the beginning I kept detailed lists on notepads, and there was a copy editor at Scholastic to check for accuracy. Eventually, though, there was so much information about so many people and places that Scholastic published The Complete Guide to the Baby-sitters Club — absolutely positively everything you've always wanted to know about the BSC!
Q. How did the prequel The Summer Before come about?
A. I came up with the idea for the prequel. I thought it would be fun to write a book that took place just before the series began so readers could see the characters as they were in the months before they started the Baby-sitters Club.
Q. What was your BSC? A series or book that basically is your childhood?
A. I loved the Nancy Drew books. (I still love reading mysteries today.) One thing I found appealing about Nancy Drew was that she although she was just 18, she had an enormous amount of independence and responsibility. She could drive a car, travel on her own, and best of all, adults called on her for help.
Q. What was your favorite BSC book that didn't come in the original 131 book series?
A. I love Graduation Day. It gave me a sense of closure as I sent the original BSC members out into the world on their own.
Q. It's well known that Mary Anne is the BSC member you are most like. But which non-original member are you most similar to?
A. I'm most similar to Mallory, who loves to read and write. Like Jessi, I love dancing, although I'm not a dancer myself.
Q. How does it feel knowing a generation of girls has been shaped by reading the BSC?
A. It's very gratifying to hear from so many readers who enjoyed the BSC books when they were young. I love finding out that so many have grown up to become writers, editors and teachers.
Q. Which of the families the BSC sits for was your favorite?
A. The Perkins family is my favorite because they were based on the actual Perkins family, who were friends of mine.
Q. Do you have a favorite non-BSC character?
A. This would have to be Karen, Kristy's little sister. I liked her so much that I gave her her own series.
Q. Which book was the hardest for you to write?
A. Claudia and the Sad Goodbye. This was the book in which Claudia's grandmother dies and I wrote it shortly after my own grandmother had died.
Q. How did growing up in Princeton shape your writing?
A. Princeton was the inspiration for Stoneybrook, and the neighborhood I grew up in was the inspiration for Bradford Court.
Q. Which Super Special was the most fun for you to write?
A. I have two favorites. The first is Baby-sitters On Board, which started my love affair with Disney World. The other is New York, New York, which my father illustrated.
Q. Any more prequels coming? Or a sequel?
A. At this time, I have no plans for either.
Q. If you could give just one piece of advice to a BSC member, what would it be?
A. I would say that no matter how bad things seem when you're going through them, you may not even remember them when you're an adult. Truly, things that seem horrible at the time, usually do fade. You grow up, you find new friends, you make a new life.