It’s an adventure novel at its heart, set on a circus barge before the Civil War.
What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?
When I read about the enormous, opulent boats that brought the circus to middle America through the rivers I knew it was a fabulous setting for a novel for kids.
What were the challenges in bringing it to life?
Baraboo, Wisconsin in January for a research trip for one!
No, really- I love every part of writing, even holing up in obscure museums in blizzards for authentic historic details.
We last spoke in April 2007 about the release of Reaching for Sun (Bloomsbury, 2007). Is there any news about that book that you’d like to mention?
You also write teacher guides! What approach do you use? Who are your clients?
After eight years, I write for all the major publishers and individual clients as well (though I have less time for that now).
I try to stay up to date on the latest pedagogy so teachers can put a new book into their curriculum with less hassle!
I love writing guides! I also teach part-time these days so that keeps me current.
If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were beginning writer, what advice would you offer?
Don’t think of this as a career.
Think of it as a wonderful hobby which you sometimes get paid to do.