Becky is the picture book author of several books--one published by Albert Whitman and the other by Sleeping Bear Press. She said, "I have been an elementary school teacher for 27 years and this year I am moving into the school library, having spent the last two years getting my Library/Media certification. I am very excited about my new position because now I will be able to bring my writing and my teaching together. Imagine being surrounded by children and books all day. There couldn't be anything grander! I have lived in Salt Lake City for the last 27 years with a one year hiatus when my husband and two kids moved to the beach on North Eleuthera in the Bahamas. This is when I decided to begin my writing career. I have been writing fiction for ten years but the book coming out now is nonfiction."

What drove/inspired you to get started?

I wanted to express myself. I felt I had something to say and writing made me feel good. There was a drive to do it. The satisfaction of expressing myself and finding the perfect word or phrase was compelling.

Do you have any specialized training?

I had an English minor in college. I am a teacher and concentrated on teaching writing in elementary schools for many years. I also received a scholarship to attend the Utah Writing Project which was probably the first real professional encouragement I received. Then I attended many workshops.

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

No, I have always enjoyed keeping a journal and writing letters, but I never thought of myself as a "writer."

Have there been any obstacles along the way?

I have just had a lot to learn.

Before you got the all important contract how did your friends and family react to your goals? Were they supportive?

The contract did make a difference in the way family reacted to me but I think probably it was partially because I had more confidence in what I was doing once I received some official recognition for it.

Now that you have a book (s) in print, do you get different reactions from friends and family?

Getting the contract definitely gave me more recognition. It has taken three years for the book to come out and it is not yet in my hands. I suspect that there will be different reactions when the book is actually on the store shelves too.

How did you land that very first book deal?

A friend of mine was illustrating another book in the series and she suggested I try to write one. I wrote half of the book right away in a few weeks and sent it off as a proposal. It sat with the editor for six months and later I found out that the manuscript had been lost. The editor finally asked me to send another draft. By then I had written the whole book and within 6 days of sending the manuscript, I was offered a contract.

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

No, I don't think so. I was just very impatient to have the book published. It took three years for it to go to press.

How would you describe your work? What's the most important thing you'd like others to get out of it?

I like to write a different kind of book from what is currently coming out. What I usually write is fiction for first- third graders about school and the difficulties of handling fears, and social issues I am fascinated with the way people think.

Do you have an agent?


If you don't have an agent, would you consider getting one?

I have thought that when I have about 3-4 books out I might consider getting an agent. I work full time as a teacher so I struggle to find enough time for the business of writing. An agent might help a little with that problem.

Describe your relationship with your editor(s) (art director if applicable).

I have had two editors. The first is very nice and very talented. She was also very busy and hard to get a hold of. The second editor has been very responsive as has the marketing person assigned to me. I have been extremely happy.

How do you most often communicate with your publisher--e-mail, phone, or snail mail?

Email seems to work best for us but my second editor said she would communicate whatever way worked for me.

What books do you have in the works now?

I do not have any other contracts yet but I have quite a few projects that are making the rounds with editors. They are fiction but also I have written a biography for young readers.

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

I want to be better about having manuscripts circulating more. If I receive a rejection, I usually do not send the manuscript out again for a long time. I need to submit more.

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

I am doing book signings this fall. Also I will give a workshop for parents, teachers and students in September at a book festival. I am a teacher so I like to be actively involved when doing events. I also will be on a panel of authors for an English teachers' convention. I like working with teachers!

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

They are very important.

What's the best thing about publishing a book?

The best is the feeling that I have been noticed for all this hard work.

What's the worst?

The worst is that there is no such thing as resting on your laurels. The second book is at least as hard as getting the first published! That is disappointing. I know I am a better writer now, that I have learned so much, but it is still hard .

Any last words of encouragement for beginners?

1. Read everything- kids' books, books about writing, about writers. Never stop reading. 2. Then go to workshops, attend conferences, and take classes. 3. Get a critique group and write and write and write. 4. Then don't forget to submit (That is my nemesis.) If you don't submit, you can't get published!. 5. Finally, never give up.