for Young People  


Questions I Have Been Asked


Did you always want to be a writer?
I always enjoyed writing long letters and little poems, but I never felt I had an exciting story to tell until my husband and I lived through Hurricane Iniki on the island of Kauai in 1991. That's when I wrote my first children's book. It was called Where Do All the Birds Go?

Who was the most difficult character for you to write about in My Brothers' Keeper?
The character of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was the most difficult for me to write about because he was a real person. I wanted what I wrote about him to be an historically accurate picture of a man who went from professor of religion to one of the great heroes of the battle at Gettysburg. He became a general and then governor of Maine.

Why didn't you give The Man a name and why did you capitalize The and Man?
Josh,  Jere and Mattie were a complete family unit without their stepfather and, since they didn't like him and he didn't like them, it was almost as though he was a non-person. By calling him just The Man and not giving him a name, it depersonalized him.

Why didn't you tell what happened to Josh and Mattie after the war?
I wanted each reader to imagine what happened to Josh and Mattie after the war ended. I think one of the best parts of reading is using your own imagination to figure out why things happen or what is going to happen next in a story.

What advice do you have for me when I write?
Write about something you are familiar with, something you know about or love doing or care deeply about. That way your writing will be genuine.