Book Nerd Interview
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think it takes us away from our everyday lives for a while, and we all could use a respite from the pressures, worries, and stress of life. And it opens up a whole new world of travel, adventure, fantasy, mystery, and romance!
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I’m not sure…maybe that I was born in Okinawa because my parents were there after the war. Or that I’m fluent in American Sign Language because I love the beauty of the language. Or that I’ve published over 60 books!
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first short story at age 9 and it was published in the newspaper. My first book, HEALTHY SNACKS FOR KIDS, came out 1980, when my son was 6 years old and I was 33. My first adult mystery was published when I turned 50, and my Code Busters Club books when I was 60.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
My college English teacher, Dan Tannacito, taught me how to write a decent paragraph, which took me some time to grasp. That’s the most memorable (plus he was hot!)
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Wow….(don’t count that one!) – Writer, Teacher, Friend.
In your new book; The Mummy's Curse, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
The story takes place at the Rosecrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, where they have real live…I mean, dead…mummies. The kids get to learn about Hieroglyphics and use them as codes, plus they get to meet a real live…I mean, dead… mummy!
For those who are unfamiliar with Cody, how would you introduce him?
First, Cody is a girl. Her name is Dakota Jones, and she has recently moved to Berkeley from the California Gold country, so she’s new at Berkeley Cooperative Middle School. Her parents are divorced – her mom is a cop, her dad an attorney. And her little sister Tana (Montana) is deaf, so Cody knows sign language and uses it to talk to her Code Buster friends when she doesn’t want anyone to know what she’d talking about…
If you could introduce Luke and M.E. to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Luke would love Robinson Crusoe, since he’s strong, brave, and loves adventure. M.E. would love anyone who loves animals and fashion.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Quinn?
That not only is he into video games and can create his own, but that he loves anything to do with the military in terms of codes, especially the Enigma machine.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Start today. Write and finish your book. Send it out and ignore rejections. And have fun making stuff up.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I worked in a movie theater in high school and saw the same movies 20 or 30 times. I learned a lot about dramatic structure!
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
1940 – I love the music, the clothes, the styles, and Nancy Drew was really popular then.
What scares you the most and why?
I love haunted houses but would never go in one. I love zombies but wouldn’t want to meet one. I love scary movies but I’m glad they’re just fiction.
What is your greatest adventure?
I’ve never jumped out of a plane or gone on a jungle trip or tried snails, but I’d have to say raising children, being published, and appearing on TV promoting my books!
When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Ten minutes ago - my husband. This morning – my daughter. Yesterday – my granddaughter. (And George Clooney.)
When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday, when I heard my daughter’s medical tests were clear.
Where can readers stalk you?
I’m everywhere – at schools, conferences, but especially at http://www.codebustersclub.com. Any stalker who joins the Code Busters Club gets free code-buster stuff in the mail!
Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much they have their own club, with a secret hideout and passwords that change every day.
After learning about steganography, the study of concealed writing, the Code Busters discover that artists have been hiding secret messages in their artwork for centuries.
A clue hunt on a class trip to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum leads the Code Busters to an artifact that doesn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the collection. Could it be a forgery? The Code Busters code-cracking skills and new knowledge of hieroglyphic messages will help them get to the bottom of this mystery, but they better think fast before the criminal tries to frame them!
Winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse
Nominated for the 2011 Agatha Award for Case #1: The Secret of the Skeleton Key
"[A] fun series sure to appeal to graduates of Encyclopedia Brown and Ivy & Bean." -Shelf Awareness
"This intriguing tale has vivid characters and such a tantalizing cliffhanger that readers won't be able to resist cracking the next Code Busters." -Kirkus Reviews
You can purchase The Mummy's Curse at the following Retailers: