Mary Pope Osborne's
Classroom Adventures Program

Q & A with Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne answers questions about the writing & bookmaking process:


Q: What’s the best part of being an author?

MPO: The very best part is using my imagination! And being able to go anyplace, anytime, and take hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of readers with me. It’s a great adventure and I cannot wait to start writing everyday. And I hope that you share the adventure with me when you read Magic Tree House books and that you actually feel like you’re going on an adventure with Jack and Annie.


Q: How long does it take to write a MTH book?

MPO: I take about 6 months to work on a MTH book. That involves research, writing, rewriting and rewriting. And while I’m working on the fiction books, my sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, is working on the nonfiction books.


Q: How do you make a book?
MPO: When I make a book, it’s the writing part. Then there’s the illustration part, and then the production part and everybody that brings it together. A lot of people go into making a book. My part involves research and taking a lot of notes and making an outline and then writing the story, and then rewriting the story and rewriting the story…. That’s a huge part of my writing a book. I get information and suggestions from my editor, from my husband, and my best readers, and then start to change things and make them better. So it’s really a team effort. That’s how you make a book.


Q: How did you come up with the characters Jack and Annie?

MPO: When I was growing up I had a twin brother and another brother, and a sister. I played all the time with my siblings. We grew up in the military and we traveled to a new house almost every year. We were each other’s best friends. Mostly we played outside and used our imaginations and we always climbed trees. Well, I decided I would have a brother and a sister, and I liked the names Jack and Annie. And then I thought I’d just see what happens. And everything they do now is as much a surprise to me as it is to you because they feel like real living people.


Q: How long have you been writing MTH books and how long will you keep writing them?

MPO: I’ve been writing MTH books for over 28 years and I’m having more fun than ever. I love doing it every day, I can’t wait to get back to my work, just like I couldn’t wait to go outside and play when I was little. So I think I’ll keep writing them!

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