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My second grade teacher, Mrs. Greer, once made a prediction. “Pamela,” she said, “one day you will wake up and see the whole world going by.” I thought she was telling me I was destined to be an astronaut! Actually, she meant I was day dreaming. What she didn’t realize is that I was writing a novel in my head. It was going to be the greatest novel ever written. Most books I read were hopelessly thin, leaving out crucial details like blinking and going to the bathroom. Mine would be different. I would include everything.
I still write stories in my head but now many of them become books. Though a real book is rarely as brilliant as an imaginary one, there is magic in being able to hold your newly-published book in your hands — a tangible, almost living thing. The best part comes when a child writes, as one little girl did, “I loved your book because it made me happy”.
I was not an exceptional student, probably because I was too busy writing great books in my head. But when I was in high school, my chemistry teacher told me he wasn’t worried about my grades, because he knew that one day he would have my books on his shelf. I never forgot his prophecy or his faith in me, and twenty five-years later, when Houghton Mifflin published my first book, Noelle of the Nutcracker (illustrated by Jan Brett), I sent a copy to Mr. Welsh and asked him to put on his shelf. And he did.
I like to write different kinds of stories — tall tales, picture books, young readers, and stories in rhyme (many of the rhymes come to me in dreams, but they need lots of wakeful editing). I love talking to children at schools and sharing my journey to becoming a writer….I even tell them about how I submitted one book 135 times before it was accepted (their mouths drop open!).
I live in Pennsylvania with my husband and our daughter. When I get stuck with my writing, my daughter advises me to put on my thinking mask.
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