Q: What has writing taught you as an editor?
A: I am learning how to be more focused on readers and writers—on people. I have an amazing editor, Ami McConnell, who has an incredible capacity to love readers and the writers serving them. Before I started writing, I hadn’t fully considered how such a sincere respect for these people could inform an editorial point of view so effectively. My editorial emphasis has always been on the story rather than on the person interacting with it. I see that changing for something much better.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: In second grade. My best friend, Sara Kersten, wrote and illustrated this incredible story about a duck who broke into a house via chimney. I was so in awe of it that I plagiarized her. Then I felt so guilty that I figured I’d better start coming up with stories of my own. “Sammy the Bad Seagull,” about a rude picnic-pilfering bird, was my first legitimate endeavor. But before any of this, before I could even write my own name, I knew I wanted to be a reader. At age three I memorized Are You My Mother? and caused my own mother to think, for a very brief time, that I knew how to read. So for me, reading and writing (and eventually editing) has always been a passion. With the exception of a brief detour in my college years (I thought I’d be a politician, but God used an English professor to save me from that disastrous choice), my career path has been pretty straight.
Q: Are you really related to Daniel Boone?
A: Yes, I’m the direct descendant of one of his brothers, which makes Daniel my great (great-great-great-great-great-great) uncle.
Q: Are you really Irish, or do you just wish you were?
A: I am, in a genetic, inexperienced sense. My given, maiden, and married names are all Irish, and the Irish in my genes mingles with the Portuguese, German, and Native American. Alas, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the lovely country and must live–for the time being–vicariously through friends and relatives who have traveled there. I hope one day to travel there with my daughter.
Q: What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?
A: A grande Americano with whole milk and one Splenda, please.