So, David L. Harrison was posting on his personal web page about how when his son (now in his 60s I believe) was a boy, David had always promised to write him a story about a lonely tiger, but never did. And so I wrote back (also on David’s site) the beginning of the story set in India and after we had this open to the public several pages going on, I said: “Think it’s time to take this offline and really go for it.”
Bear Outside turned out to be my first ever book with the famed editor Neal Porter and my (accidentally) 400th book. It has an interesting backstory. About five years before I wrote and sold A BEAR OUTSIDE, I had been helping one of my editors find an illustrator for a different bear book of mine.
So the phone rings. My Charlesbridge editor said, “I have a book idea for you.” (This happens, but rarely.)
“In two years it’s going to be the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock. Big celebrations and. . . ”
“It didn’t happen, you know,” I said, figuring she knew. She was a Harvard graduate after all.
“What didn’t happen?”
As I began writing the second Interrupting Cow book (likely to be six of them) about a chicken–a Rhode Island Red– and why it crosses the road (each one uses an old joke at its center…the next two are about an old dog learning new tricks and a horse of a different color) I realized that all of Cow’s new friends, her accidental herd if you will, are different colors and different kinds of animals. A virtual variety.
A new line of easy readers (the next up from my Fish School rhymed books, all for Simon & Schuster) are the INTERRUPTING COW books, This is the first, (2 and 3 are already written!) full of gag lines, puns. and each based on the interrupting cow plus…
Daughter Heidi Stemple and I were telephoned by the editor of a new early-reading imprint “Rises” for Penguin Random house. We knew her though had never actually done a book for her. Se told us about an idea and we ran with it, and it became this book…
The third of my series of short stories (and poems in the back matter) collections is MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, for Tachyon Books. It follows the arc of the other two. But these are my dark stories. Who knew I had done so many! As I looked through what I had…
Once again, a rhymed book in the series about individual bird adventures around the USA.. A child and her mother spot a pair of eagles mating. They trek back several months later to see the eagle chicks in a huge nest. This is Elizabeth’s second book with me for Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology, the first being CROW NOT CROW,
MIRIAM AT THE RIVER is based on the Biblical story of Moses’ sister, a seer in her own right, who saved her baby brother by putting him in a woven basket and sending it into the Nile River, where she watches over it until it is pulled out by the pharaoh’s daughter who raises him as a prince of Egypt.
It is no secret that I am a huge Emily Dickinson fan. I already published THE EMILY SONNETS (Creative Editions), MY UNCLE EMILY (Philome Booksl) and loads of poetry about her and a short story which won the Nebula for short stories, “Sister Emily’s Lightship”. (Tor). However, This is the first time my plot revolved around Emily as a child.