Writing rituals: It’s all about the dog walk and the oatmeal and the Starbucks. Until I have all of those handled, I can’t write a word. And then even though I might start writing in the morning and not finish until ten at night, I plan plenty of breaks in between to exercise, watch Top Chef, and do other important stuff. I also tend to bake a lot when I’m feeling anxious or stuck in the plot. A loaf of chocolate zucchini bread, and I’m back on track.
What I wish an interviewer would ask me: What one thing did a teacher do for you when you were young that made you believe you could be a writer? My fifth grade teacher Mr. George not only gave me plenty of opportunities to write stories that I then read to the class, he also at the end of the year gave me the book “The Writer’s Market” with listings of every magazine and book publisher that bought stories. His faith in me was really, really essential in making me believe I could grow up to be an actual, real-life writer. I tracked him down about a year ago and told him so! Big, teary phone call–it was so excellent.
What inspired me to write when I was a kid: Movies. I was a total Disney junkie. I’d watch “The Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday night, and then go to any and all of the Disney live-action movies that came out: Kurt Russell movies like “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” and “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t,” animal movies like “Incredible Journey” and “The Biscuit Eater,” action and fantasy flicks like “Escape to Witch Mountain”–the list goes on and on. Those movies got me psyched about storytelling. I still re-rent them sometimes to get re-inspired–and they always work!