Below are some questions children frequently ask Peggy when she visits schools and libraries. If you don't find an answer to what it is you'd like to know, please provide it through the Feedback and Questions page. Peggy welcomes your questions and will try to reply as soon as possible.
Q. Are the characters in your books based on real people, or do you just make them up?
A. None of my characters are based on people I know. They all came out of my imagination. By the time I am finished a book, however, I really do "know" them. I live with them in my head for a long time. I know the things they like, the things that drive them crazy, how they feel about the other people in their families, even what they like to eat. That's the only way a writer can make their characters "real" to their readers.
Q. Why do you write for children?
A. Some of my favourite people are children. I find them fascinating, and I love their honesty and openness. I was very lucky to grow up in a big, happy family. We had no television when I was a child, but there were lots of fun things to do - hikes and picnics in all types of weather, games to play, books to read. I remember going for drives in the family car and all of us singing at the top of our lungs. I often go back to those years when I am writing.
Q. Will you ever write a sequel to "Sky Lake Summer?" I want to know what happens to Jane and Jess after the summer.
A. Well, I don't say I never will, but by the time one of my books comes out and children are asking for more of the same, I am usually well into writing my next book.
Q. How can I become a writer?
A. I believe you become a writer by writing. You need to know how to spell, of course, and how to write a proper sentence. But, in the end, after the grammer lessons, you have to get down to putting the words on the page. Look for opportunities to practise your writing, even if it's just a letter to Grandma (you can bet she'll save it!). Check any magazines for young people at the library to see if they publish children's writing. Once in a while you may even discover a writing competition that you could enter. (That's how I started.) Write letters to the editor of the local paper. Perhaps the editor is looking for someone to start a column of school news. Small newspapers are great for this sort of thing. Does your school or youth organization have a newsletter? Maybe you could write a short article for it. Always ask the editor first what sort of material he/she is looking for. And don't give up. Believe in yourself, and keep writing.
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