Was your first published book the first book you ever wrote?

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!