Mary Pope Osborne's
Classroom Adventures Program

Questions for Mary

 

Mary Pope Osborne provides answers to questions

submitted by Lara P., a middle school student

with an interest in reporting/journalism.

 

What was your first book? 

A Young Adult novel called Run, Run, As Fast as You Can.

 

What inspires your work? 

My imagination, my love of learning and knowledge, my memories and my readers.

 

Why do you write?  

I have an active imagination and find writing a form of play that is fun and exciting and unpredictable.

 

What are your favorite books? 

I have about 100 favorite books. I’m a voracious reader!

 

Who is your biggest writing influence?  

My husband Will has been my first editor for many years. He encourages me and talks to me about my plot and characters. He’s enthusiastic, easy-going and really smart.

 

What are some writing tips you would give to people wanting to become writers?  

Write. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. If you get stuck, take a short break – have a cup of tea, walk your dog, make a phone call. When you come back to your work, it’s likely that you’ll no longer be stuck.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  

When I started writing poetry in high school.

 

What kinds of obstacles did you face when writing?  

I can’t think of any real obstacles. I’m pretty kind to myself and have good instincts about knowing when something is working and when something isn’t working. I’ll abandon something that’s not working, but that piece of writing is part of the process that leads me to something that works. I hope that makes sense.

 

What is your favorite part of being an author? 

Getting new ideas and starting to explore and research them. Then spinning a tale out of what I learn.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  

Read a book, take a walk, play with my dogs, spend time with my family and friends. 

 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  

An actress, a singer, a dancer, a politician, a traveler, explorer, scholar.

 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?  

Being too judgmental about one’s writing. Just write, write, write. If you keep writing, you’ll get better.

 

Do you try to be original, or do you deliver to readers what they want?

I write about what really interests me --  but I always try to keep my readers in mind and share my imaginative worlds with them in plain and poetic ways. 

 

Does your family read your books and give feedback? 

Yes, as I’ve said I’m very dependent on my husband Will’s good editorial help.

 

What are some inspirations for Magic Tree House (ie. your pets, family, etc)?

Readers, teachers and parents have continually inspired me over the last 32 years of writing the series. I have traveled all over the US and other countries, visiting schools and bookstores; and I always ask my audiences to vote on subjects and titles I’m thinking of – and give me new ideas as well. Their enthusiasm for the series keeps me writing about Jack and Annie’s adventures.

 

 

Magic Tree House Resources
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