Laura Dower

Laura Dower

Laura Dower is the author of For Girls Only: Everything Great About Being a Girl. She has written more than ninety books for young readers of all ages—from picture books to young adult fiction and nonfiction—and is the author of the popular series From the Files of Madison Finn. Laura was born in Massachusetts, and graduated from Columbia University. After a procession of odd jobs—babysitting, waitressing, coffee-making, switchboard-operating—she worked in children’s publishing for many years before becoming a full-time author. She lives in Yonkers, New York with her husband and three children. In her spare time, she is a Cub Scout den leader and Girl Scout Brownie troop co-leader.

Q & A

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?


Writer for Saturday Night Live (this was back in the late 70s); tennis player (during the era of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe); teacher of the deaf (I was addicted to Helen Keller biographies); and a concert violinist (even though I did not play the violin). Mostly, I just wanted to be smart. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer/illustrator? Two words: Judy Blume.


  1. What’s your first childhood memory?


Maybe not earliest, but Massachusetts circa 1972: playing Matchbox cars in the windowsill, catching ladybugs in the kitchen, and singing Karen Carpenter tunes at the top of my lungs.


  1. What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory?


Wetting my pants on the street coming home from first grade—while the neighborhood bully stood there laughing at me.


  1. What’s your favorite childhood memory?


Going to Woburn Public Library in Papa’s shiny, red Ford truck.


  1. As a young person, who did you look up to most?


My mom.


  1. What was your worst subject in school?


History. I was terrible with dates. (Although I later married a history teacher, so go figure!)


  1. What was your best subject in school?




  1. What was your first job?




  1. How did you celebrate publishing your first book?


Getting a contract for another book.


  1. Where do you write your books?


Home office, library, the diner, and any Starbucks with an available outlet.


  1. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?


Five top spots: eavesdropping on unsuspecting strangers; analyzing dreams; re-reading my old diaries; talking to my kids and their pals; and reading anything from the newspaper to junk mail.


  1. Which of your characters is most like you?


Cady from my novel REWIND and Madison Finn from my book series of the same name.


  1. When you finish a book, who reads it first?


My agent or editor.


  1. Are you a morning person or a night owl?


Total night owl. I often work after my kids go to sleep.


  1. What’s your idea of the best meal ever?


Hummus, warm pitas, grapes, and chopped salad with all the trimmings.


  1. Which do you like better: cats or dogs?


Dogs. No contest. I’m allergic to cats.


  1. What do you value most in your friends?




  1. Where do you go for peace and quiet?


When possible: the beach. More likely: my backyard.


  1. What makes you laugh out loud?


My kids when we’re being super-silly; Monty Python; and Conan O’Brien.


  1. What’s your favorite song?


Anything from BLUE by Joni Mitchell


  1. Who is your favorite fictional character?


Elizabeth Bennett, Pippi Longstocking, and Juno (from the movie).


  1. What are you most afraid of?


Falling from a great height. And furry spiders.


  1. What time of year do you like best?


May, when I plant in our garden.


  1. What’s your favorite TV show?


Anything on Bravo, especially Project Runway and Top Chef


  1. If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you want for company?


A genie. That way, he (or she) could grant any wish for me at any time—including making my husband, kids, and anyone else appear at will.


  1. If you could travel in time, where would you go?


Renaissance Italy. Or into the future—just for a little while--to see what’s coming.


  1. What’s the best advice you have ever received about writing?


“Trust Laura and her perceptions of things.” My college adviser wrote that on a file card for me nearly 20 years ago, I still have the coffee-stained and torn card framed on my desk.


  1. What do you want readers to remember about your books?


The characters.


  1. What would you do if you ever stopped writing?


Come on! I couldn’t stop. Physically impossible. My brain would implode.


  1. What do you like best about yourself?


Three things: my optimism, my creativity, and my work ethic.


  1. What is your worst habit?


Not getting enough sleep.


  1. What is your best habit?


My attention to detail.


  1. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?


My kids. No doubt. Hands down.


  1. Where in the world do you feel most at home?


Anywhere as long as I am with my kids and husband. (Having a pen and paper in hand is a bonus, of course!)


  1. What do you wish you could do better?


Dance. Gourmet cook. Sigh. So many things!


  1. What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?


Two of my girlier-girl moments: in high school in was featured in a Seventeen magazine story and later I was a debutante. 


  1. What are the things that usually get your writing motor running?


Rainstorms; highly competitive games of Scrabble and Boggle; crossword puzzles; really good books; really trashy magazines; classical music; and Venti, decaf, iced, hazelnut Americanos from Starbucks (I’m drinking one right now, actually).




For Girls Only

Laura Dower

Everything great about being a girl is packed into this fun and informative book.