Q. When did you know you wanted to be a writer and what inspired you?
A. Not until high school did I discover the power--the magic--of words. I grew up as one of ten children and found that writing was a way to have a voice, to be heard, to express what was inside of me. Though I was clueless then as to how to become an author, I knew I wanted to write books someday.
Q. How do you get ideas for stories?
A. Often an incident, image, or piece of information will be the catalyst for a story. I draw on my own experiences and stay open to the world around me, always asking questions and trying to make sense of things. Stories often start with larger questions, such as "How could someone do that?" or "Why did that happen?" Always, however, I connect emotionally with the issue or topic I take on--I am moved in some way to explore a concept further.
Q. How long does it take you to complete a book?
A. I often carry the germ of a story with me for years before I sit down to actually write it. Once I begin, most novels take a year or two to finish. The text for picture books may be shorter, but a picture book can still take me a year or two and many, many drafts to bring it to completion
Q. Did you have any role models as a child and who were they?
A. My parents were great role models. They demonstrated a love for family and the natural world. We always ate meals together, spent vacation time at a cabin in the northwoods, and shared jokes and stories with one another. My parents passed along their convictions that the world is full of possibilities, that life is a gift from above, and miracles are everywhere--from a frog singing in the nearby stream, spores on a fern leaf, a purple sunset, to a single snowflake. They taught me to appreciate beauty in simple things, and they taught me that by giving to others, one finds true riches.
Q. Do you have any advice for kids who want to write or illustrate?
A. Keep a journal or a sketchbook and fill it up. Then go fill up another and another . . . Observe, take in the world around you, and listen to your heart. Don't let perfectionism get in the way.
Q. Do you have any pets or a favorite animal?
A. I have always had pets. Right now we have a basset hound, named Gunnar, who according to my daughter, "drinks water with both his tongue and his ears." We have two cats, Paris and Cali, and one rabbit named Frosty, short for Frosted Flakes.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. When I'm not writing or reading, I love to play the piano. I also love cross-country skiing, canoeing, hiking, gardening--anything active and outdoors.
Click here to visit Mary Casanova's website
Below is a list of Mary Casanova books:
All of these books can be purchased at amazon.com