What is your writing style?
I like to pack in a lot of cool facts while keeping an upbeat, literary flow. I aim to both entertain and enlighten with my fiction, non-fiction and my educational resources. I create picture books that mash up themes and content for tots, teens & adults to enjoy together yet on different levels. And I love word play!
My style shifts according to the task and I appreciate the variety. My articles in popular magazines are both chatty and informative. My books are part of curriculum materials produced by educational publishers and so follow a more classical narrative style. The posts and articles I write for a large international science society project a welcoming professionalism. My K-12 teaching materials balance kid-friendly appeal with teacher-approved productivity.
Who are your favorite authors?
For authors who are masters at combining big ideas and word play, then Dr. Seuss and Jasper Fforde top my list. On a somewhat grander & quirkier scale, Neil Gaiman covers ideas of mythological proportions and uses words brilliantly to play with your mind. I love that. Some of Walter Mosley's books are strangely fascinating - heavy, heavy themes with writing that both tip toes and soars. And I do enjoy the occasional twisted classic as penned by Seth Grahame-Smith. I can recall no one better at showing light and color with just printed words than Tracy Chevalier did in Girl with a Pearl Earring. And the literary diversity and inspirational insight of the Bible is awesome.
Why did you write The Tooth Fairy Conference?
I'm always toying with new ways to convey big ideas through fun stories. So when Gwyneth flitted up one day and let me know that Plaque Man was spreading rot through the fairy world, I was ready. We agreed that a tooth fairy conference was a great place to find the kind of expert help she needed (Plus, I liked creating a friendly parody of conference-goers). After studying Plaque Man's skunky-gunky plot to decay the fairies' supply of teeth it became clear that our strategy would be to champion the effective use of dental dynamism and basic economic principles. And puns.
Why so much word play in The Tooth Fairy Conference?
Alliteration amuses me. More importantly, it tickles a reader's tongue until she's reading aloud, adding another layer to the story experience. Creating homonym-heavy names like conference speakers Buck Touffe, Claire N. Wight, and Minty Molaar was an auditory delight and another way to support the story's 'dental gleam' theme. And I'm addicted to puns; they trigger a fun sort of critical thinking. So sprinkling puns amid the story's basic economic concepts added kid appeal. For example, tooth fairies must stay invisible as they travel from pillow to pillow collecting the teeth they need to supply their monetary system. Kids understand this beloved tooth swap tradition and so it's logical for them to savor the puns as they digest new economic concepts like 'supply and demand' or 'invisible hand.'