Years before I wrote books for kids, I wrote magazine articles–mostly for adults, but some for kids too. A lot of journalists specialize, focusing upon just one subject like health or politics. In fact, people told me that being known as an expert in one area was a good way to make more money.
I never did that. I've always liked to write about whatever interested me — newborn babies one day and using spider silk for bulletproof vests the next. People have often asked me which types of articles are my favorites. Whether it was for a magazine or a book, I've always liked the ones that include an adventure.
As a journalist, I attended Adult Space Camp and learned how to walk on the moon. I went up in a hot air balloon and down for an overnight stay in an underwater hotel. I attended a Buffalo Round-Up in South Dakota and swam with the dolphins in Florida. Magazines have sent me to the Amazon rain forest, the mountains in Montana, and the beaches of Puerto Rico.
Other favorites include talking to really interesting people. Some of them were well known, at least in the adult world. I've done interviews with Tony Hillerman and Sue Grafton, Miss Manners, Dr. Laura, Al Franken, Pauline Kael, and Julia Child among others.
Some of the most interesting people I've interviewed, however, weren't famous at all. One of the best things about being a writer is talking to people who love what they do. They've spent a lifetime thinking about their work and want to tell you all about it. I've visited a guy who makes models of dinosaur for museums and a zookeeper in charge of elephants. I've talked to the people who create the recipes on the back of cereal boxes and the president of the Barbie Fan Club. Then, there was the scientist who figures out precisely when someone was murdered by looking at the bugs crawling on the body.
I don't write for magazines as much as I used to, but recently I've been the person who tells you lots of fun things to do outdoors in the Green Hour column of Your Big Backyard. And, the National Wildlife Federation occasionally asks me to write something for their website, which is like a digital magazine, if you think about it. Here's one of my favorites: 7 Ways to Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day. It was one of their favorites too; it has received the most likes for any article on their site.
All in all, I have written over 700 articles for magazines including National Geographic Traveler, Modern Maturity, Woman's Day, National Wildlife, Your Big Backyard, Redbook, Family Circle, Child, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, New Woman, Parents, Self, Mademoiselle, Health, Working Woman, Ranger Rick, Outside Kids, Yankee, Woman, Horticulture, Science, Highlights for Children, The Old Farmer's Almanac, Current Health, Boston Herald, the LA Times Syndicate, and the New York Times Syndication, among others.