Ann was the author of several picture books published by Houghton Mifflin and Penguin. Sadly, she passed away in 2018. You can read her obituary here.

What inspired you to get started?

One day my mom drove into my driveway and unloaded all the picture books she gave me as a child. I read each one from cover-to-cover and went to work!

Do you have any specialized training?

I have two college degrees, one in English literature. I also took studio art in college. I was a reading teacher and also taught 9th grade English literature, Latin, creative writing and drama. For many years I wrote and illustrated for newspapers.

Has this been something you've always wanted to do?

I have been a serious writer and artist since early childhood.

Have there been any obstacles along the way?

Financially, writing and illustrating is very difficult - keep your day job!

Did you have family support before you landed that first contract?

My family was always enthusiastic about my writing and illustrating - that made a giant difference in my persistence.

Now that you have books in print, do you get different reactions from friends and family?

Perhaps they take my work a bit more seriously, but I've always been blessed with wonderful family and friends.

How did you land that very first book deal?

Sheer luck - I just submitted the manuscript and sample illustrations off to Houghton Mifflin and they bought Christmas Lights!

Did you have any misconceptions in the beginning about the whole book process?

Probably the biggest misconception I had was that most children's book authors and illustrators could support themselves with their writing and illustrating work. This is rarely true.

How would you describe your work?

I have always seen myself as a poet and my work as very lyrical.

What's the most important thing you'd like others to get out of it?

I hope that I bring a fascinating experience to readers and that they love the reading process.

Do you have an agent? If yes, please explain how you acquired your agent and how do you think having one has helped you?

Yes, I have an agent in New York. When Christmas Lights sold to Houghton Mifflin, they wanted me to be represented by an agent. It was easy to get an agent once I had sold the book. My agent is wonderful for working out contracts and smoothing relations with publishers.

Describe your relationship with your editor(s) and art director.

Always professional and courteous.

How do you most often communicate with your publisher?

I try not to telephone and I usually use email.

What books do you have in the works now?

I'm always working on several books at one time - this makes life very interesting

Is there anything you'd do differently with your new projects?

I have been blessed with success and can't think of anything I would change.

Do you do author appearances/events? If so, please describe what they generally consist of.

I travel across the country presenting book programs for all ages. The programs vary tremendously depending on the age of the audience. The events often include displays, audience participation, crafts, and/or a slide show.

How important do you think author appearances are for you and your book?

I so appreciate people, so the travel is a joy for me. I don't know how important it is for my career, but I do think national travel prevents an author from being labeled a "local or regional author or illustrator."

What's the best thing about publishing a book? What's the worst?

It is just the best when children appreciate your work and get turned on to reading! The worst - no one can imagine the amount of work that goes into a picture book. I often work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Any last words of encouragement for beginners?

It's all about persistence and determination. Stick to your dream and work like crazy!