"It feels as though I have always been wrapped in stories and books. My parents read to me, and I in turn read to younger brothers. Books and family stories filled our home, and going to the library was as common as going to the market. I began writing stories when they were given as assignments in elementary school, but I came to enjoy the writing so much I began writing extra ones. Then I wrote even when there was no assignment at all. My dream of making books was so vivid I submitted my first "formal" children's manuscript to a publisher when I was sixteen. Eleven more years of school, work, reading, writing, and luck finally brought about Lizard's Song, my first children's book to be accepted.
"Looking back, it seems especially appropriate that Lizard's Song was my first book. Even though I had been writing for years, I always felt everyone else's life held better ideas for stories than mine did. I thought there was nothing about me that was interesting enough to make a good story. But I finally learned what Lizard teaches Bear. My best stories come when I tell or sing about what makes my home. What I love. What I fear Things that have happened to me, and things I hope will happen. Things I like about me. Things I dislike about me. Things I'm starting to understand. Things that still confuse me. And, always, the books and art and friends that make me feel at home. So even though I am not a lizard, squirrel, or dancing frog, when you read my books you'll find little bits of what my heart calls home tucked inside the stories.
"My years as a children's librarian and, later, a professional storyteller continue to influence my writing, whether it is a collection of folktales like Stories to Solve or original stories like Dance Away and April Showers. I want my stories to sound as if-they are being told out loud with the rhythm of the words providing as much emotion as the words themselves.
"I also write many things few people ever see. Sometimes I begin a story but, as with a puzzle, can't find the missing piece. So I file it away to grow into another story at another time. I am also constantly writing letters and postcards to friends, and daily filling pages in my journal with anything that sparks my mind-all possible "missing pieces" for writing-puzzles yet to come.
"One of my favorite proverbs is "less is more," though that may seem odd for someone six feet four inches tall, with feet that need a size thirteen shoe. But I truly believe it. Distilled art forms like haiku and sculpture by artists like Isamu Noguchi and William Edmondson have always been my favorites. I believe books for young readers fall beautifully into this area as well. The challenge of sharing a story in as few words as possible and with a vital theme inside a "light-hearted" plot is one I sense I'll always enjoy as surely as I do reading."--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.