Where did you grow up?
Mostly outdoors, along the Columbia River in eastern Washington, swimming or looking for artifacts, rocks and birds.
What is your earliest memory of writing/drawing?
Most memories are of three-dimensional investigations, making forts, taking things apart, whittling, carving blocks of wood into sculpture.
What inspired you to write/illustrate your first book?
The idea came from reading stacks and stacks of books to my son. The details came from a trip into the wetlands of Louisiana where we saw alligators, spoonbills and a beautiful sunset.
Do you use your childhood as inspiration?
I write for the child in me, the one who thrives on adventure and surprises, on learning new things, on understanding and being understood.
What books from your childhood have most influenced your work? What about adult titles?
I am just glad that there is a wonderful variety of books about so many things. I am working my way through reading them. As a child, I loved the Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett . It was spellbinding and mysterious, hopeful and full of change, part science and part fairy tale.
What are your hobbies and interests besides reading and books?
Getting together with friends and family, hiking, kayaking, watching birds, bugs and the weather.
What one or two words of advice would you give for young authors/illustrators?
Explore, and look closely.