I grew up in a small town, Hamilton, Missouri. I love that town–and all small towns–in my home state. Not only did I get a great writing foundation (We had to diagram sentences!), but there were stories around every corner. I was in Hamilton Elementary School when I entered my first contest, to write in 50 words or less why you want to be batboy for the Kansas City A’s (now the Royals). I won, but when they found out a girl had won their bat BOY contest, they wouldn’t let me be batboy. A few years ago, I wrote about that victory and defeat in a book called A GIRL NAMED DAN. When the Royals saw that book, they wanted to make it up to me. They flew me to K.C. to be batboy. It was an amazing night.
I’m setting my new middle grade novel in Hamilton. And I’ve used that town, or fictional versions of it, in countless books.
So now a very cool thing is happening. I get to be the keynote luncheon speaker March 17th at the Missouri Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, MO. Students from all across Missouri are bussed in for the event, where they’ll get to attend writing workshops from well-known children’s authors. I can’t wait–my topic: Missouri Memories/Missouri Moments