Interview with Richard Peck

What could be more fun than sitting down for a long chat with one of your literary heroes? 

I had the privilege of doing just that recently when I interviewed children’s author Richard Peck for Publishers Weekly magazine.  What a delightful man!  And what a lifetime of writing wisdom he has to share.  Enjoy.

A Season of Gifts

Happy birthday, Dear Pen Pal!

Dear Pen Pal

Today is the official publication day for my new book, Dear Pen Pal! 

(Those pop and fizz sounds you hear in the background would be me cracking open a bottle of sparkling cider.)

To help celebrate, I’m giving away an autographed copy of the book, so if you or any young mother-daughter book club fans you might know are interested in entering the drawing, please send an email to by September 30, 2009.  A winner will be selected at random on October 1st by a team of highly-trained experts me. 

And since so many of you have kindly asked, “What’s the best thing I can do to help support your books?” click here to read Eileen Flanagan’s fabulous article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on that very topic.  

Thanks for spreading the love!

Deadline fever

1940s-reporter-working-on-deadlineA friend sent me a link today to a hilarious article in the Toronto Globe and Mail on the writing process, specifically the perils of being on deadline. 

Heaven knows I desperately needed a laugh, as I’m a week and a half away from turning in my latest novel.  Anyone, anywhere, who’s ever been on deadline knows exactly what this means.  It means I’ve barely been out of my pajamas for days.  It means a steady diet of cereal and pizza and Junior Mints.  It means ignoring your spouse, your dog, your children, your friends.  It means leaping out of bed in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because you just got an idea for fixing that pesky plot hole at the end of chapter seven, an idea that might be brilliant or might be rubbish but either way you’d better write it down immediately or you’ll forget it.

Will Ferguson riffs brilliantly on deadline fever in “How’s the Book Going?”  I laughed out loud at what he had to say about procrastination, and loved his description of the annoying habit that books have of “stubbornly and — it must be said — ungratefully” refusing to write themselves.  And I also appreciated the timely reminder of Douglas Adams’ (of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” fame) immortal quote :  “I love deadlines.  I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

(Adams, it’s worth noting, was so notoriously bad at meeting deadlines that his editor used to have to literally move in with him for a couple of weeks to get him to finish a book.) 

Thank you, Will Ferguson.  You were just the boost I needed.  Back to work here…

Writers at work

Writing is solitary work, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.

Once in a while, I find it’s fun to shake things up a bit and get out of my rut.  So I like to hie me someplace other than my office and write, preferably with friends.  Writing “solo together” can be energizing, plus you have somebody right there to talk shop with when you’re ready to take a break.

Fellow children’s authors Jennifer Jacobson and Jane Kurtz are in town this week (Jane’s visiting her brother Chris Kurtz), so the four of us met up with our laptops yesterday morning at a local coffee shop.  The answer is yes, we worked — and I have the pictures to prove it.  We also had fun in the process.

Jane Kurtz and Jennifer Jacobson
Jane Kurtz and Jennifer Jacobson









Chris Kurtz
Chris Kurtz









I was behind the camera, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that I was working, too.  Here I am showing off our city’s fabulous Rose Garden.

Heather and Jennifer and Jane
Heather and Jennifer and Jane


Where’s your favorite out-of-the-office place to write?