About Caroline

Caroline Carlson is the author of funny and fantastical books for young readers, including The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy, The World’s Greatest Detective, The Door at the End of the World, and Wicked Marigold. Her novels have won accolades from the New York Times, the American Booksellers Association, Bank Street College of Education, the American Library Association, and Junior Library Guild, among others. She is the children’s book columnist for the website Literary Hub.

Caroline holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family.

Photo courtesy of A.R. Capetta

Some frequently asked questions:

Click on each question to see its answer!

I grew up with my mom, dad, and younger brother. Now I live with my husband and our two kids. We don’t have any pets right now. I love dogs, but I’m allergic to cats.

I love all kinds of books, especially stories that are funny and stories filled with mysteries and surprises. I’ll read pretty much anything that interests me—fiction, nonfiction, history, fantasy, poetry, graphic novels, picture books, even cookbooks!

Reading has always been my favorite thing to do, and the books I read when I was a child were life-changing. They comforted me; they were escape vehicles; they made my world bigger; they felt like old friends. I love to make up stories almost as much as I love to read them, and I think the best part of being a professional writer is getting to share stories with kids all over the world. I hope the books I write will become like old friends to the readers who find them.

No, it wasn’t. I spent a lot of time learning to become a writer. Back in high school, I wrote a column for my school newspaper and took a few creative writing workshops. In college, I studied English and creative writing; I wrote a lot of poetry that people liked and a little bit of fiction that confused everyone. After that, I worked for a while in textbook publishing, writing and editing English and psychology textbooks for high school and college students. I also went back to school to get a master’s degree in writing for children, and I wrote many drafts of stories and poems for my advisors. Magic Marks the Spot was the first manuscript I submitted to literary agents and editors, but I’d been writing seriously for over a decade by the time I became a published author. And I still learn new things every time I sit down to write!

It’s true.

It’s impossible for me to choose my favorite character! I love almost all of them in their own ways. But the gargoyle from the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series is special to me because he first turned up in a story I wrote when I was a teenager. That story was never published, but the gargoyle insisted on reappearing many years later in my book Magic Marks the Spot, and I’m glad he did.

I don’t currently have plans for more books about these characters, but I always love to hear from readers about what they think might happen after the story is over! And I can’t wait to share new stories about new characters and adventures with you.

I love to bake, play with my kids, explore new parts of the world, and take walks in nature. You might also find me doing yoga, learning embroidery, or trying to play the guitar or the tin whistle.

Tea and cookies.

If you love to write, keep on writing, but don’t forget to read, too! Read as much as you can, and try to read about all sorts of things that interest you—history, nature, science, art, sports, or anything else you’re curious to learn more about. Curiosity is a writer’s best tool: it will teach you a lot about the world, and it will also give you many wonderful ideas for your own stories.

I’m really sorry, but in general, I can’t. I do offer occasional paid manuscript critiques for adults who are serious about writing for young people; you can contact me to find out more.

I would love to! Check out my page for educators to find out how your school or book club can invite me for an in-person or virtual visit. You can also visit my events page to see if I’ll be speaking in your area.

Photo courtesy of A.R. Capetta
I have always been a big fan of Winnie-the-Pooh