I think that I write books because I loved reading them so much as a child. I loved drawing, too. Many of my feelings and ideas come from my childhood.
I was born in Manhattan a long time ago. The year I turned four we rented an old house in Connecticut. Then, when I was in third grade, we moved to Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. We lived right across the street from the library. Every week I took out piles of books. After school, I would curl up with a book, cookies, and milk.
There was no television in those days, and I think that was lucky for me. Without TV, or brothers or sisters to play with, I learned to entertain myself. I got used to daydreaming and writing and drawing.
In college I studied graphic design. When everyone was given an assignment to design and print a book, I decided to make a picture book for children. Our class had a small, motor-driven printing press, and I used the different kinds of wooden letters that we called “type” to show the different animal noises. I called my book Roar and More, and it became my first published book. After I got out of college, I worked for a fashion photographer, but I wasn't very good at that. Then I worked on a magazine, and then in an advertising agency, writing copy and doing layouts. I also wrote and illustrated another children's book called James and the Rain. I decided to stay at home and work at my writing and illustrating full-time.
Now, I go back and forth a lot. I live in an old red brick house in Brooklyn Heights in New York, and I also live in Arlington, Virginia, where my husband Bill Bell has an apartment overlooking Washington, D.C. Every couple of weeks I pack up whatever I'm working on and fly or take the train from one desk to another. I go back and forth in my work, too, from poetry to prose, and from writing to illustrating.
Trying to get a story or poem just the way you want it is hard work. I spend a great deal of time re-writing. But I am very happy, working in my room at my desk, in Brooklyn or Virginia, making pictures and pushing words around. So I just keep at it.
To learn more about me, check out my Meet the Author autobiography, Thoughts, Pictures, and Words, published by Richard C. Owen Publishers, Inc. You can learn more about me and my childhood, my children, and my writing style.