My other writing life

Years before I wrote books for kids, I wrote magazine articles. A lot of journalists specialize, focusing upon just one subject like health or politics. I never did. I've always liked to write about whatever interested me — newborn babies one day and using spider silk for bulletproof vests the next.

People often ask me which types of articles are my favorites. I always like the ones that include an adventure. I went to Adult Space Camp, for example, 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.

All in all, I have written about 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, Bride's, Modern Bride, Horticulture, Science, Highlights for Children, The Old Farmer's Almanac, Current Health, Your Health and Fitness, Vista/USA, Americana, New Body, Boston Herald, The Real Paper, Bay State Guardian, the LA Times Syndicate, and the New York Times Syndication.