I am the author of the Cybils’-nominated Caleb and Kit, ILA award-winning A Blind Guide to Stinkville, JLG-selection A Blind Guide to Normal, The Reckless Club, and the Pack of Dorks series. I've received starred and positive trade reviews across the board for my novels and am active in school and library visits around the country.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. In fourth grade, I won a short-story contest and promptly decided writing was what I was going to do with my life. Although my other plans--becoming a wolf biologist, a Yellowstone National Park ranger, and a professional roller skater--didn't come to fruition, I stuck with the writing. I can't clap to the beat nor be trusted around Nutella.
My kids! I have two children who are just the right age to read middle grade books. Both kids help me brainstorm ideas. I love this part of the process, vetting themes, discussing issues and developing characters. My daughter likes to read what I've written chapter by chapter. Talk about awesome motivation! I can't let her down when she walks in the door after school and wants another chapter to read. My son prefers to read the finished product.
My favorite memories of my teachers reading to me. We'd gather around on a rug and soon we'd be living on Fern's uncle's farm watching a spider spin letters into her web ("Charlotte's Web") or in the middle of the woods, considering whether we want to drink from Tuck's stream in "Tuck Everlasting."
Chuck the levels and reading logs! If you want your children to love reading, model it. Read a book together so you can talk about what happens. Let them see you curled up on the couch enjoying a book. Make the library comfortable, familiar place.