Q: What inspires you to write your books?
A: I get my inspiration from kids – looking at them, watching what they do and hearing the funny things they say. Most of my books have been inspired by one particular child. Dirty Socks is about Tina Fabian from the Hay River Dene Reserve in the North West Territories, and my book Sandcastle Contest was inspired by Matthew Luttman who lives on my street. Because it takes me a long time to get these stories perfect, these kids are often grown-up before their story gets made into a book!
Q: Do you have any books written especially for your children?
Yes, I have three books based on my own kids. Andrew’s Loose Tooth is for my son
Andrew because he hated having his teeth pulled; Makeup Mess is for my daughter
Julie because she really, really liked makeup; and Something Good is for my daughter
Tyya because we always fought about what to get when we went grocery shopping.
Q: Are you in any of your books?
A: Yes, I have been the dad in some of the books. One of the illustrators I work with most, Michael Martchenko, has drawn me as the dad in some of my books.
Q: Of all the books you have written – which is your favourite one?
A: That’s hard to say. I really like a few, but Love You Forever is one of my favourites. I also really like I Have to Go, which is a story about the kid who goes pee at all the wrong times, because it’s just silly. I think Mortimer is the funniest book I have ever written and if I was going to be in one of my stories, that’s the one I would want to be in.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: About five years. That’s because I tell the story until it gets to the point where I think it’s worth writing down.
Q. How many unpublished stories do you have?
A. I have about 200 stories that have not been published. About 30 of them are scheduled to be books.
Q. What do you like most about reading?
A. You can make your own world by the books you read. You can choose your world and use your imagination.
Q: What reading advice do you have for kids?
A: First, turn off the TV for an hour every day. Next, pick out books that you are interested in. If you like trucks, read about trucks! Reading can be done in more ways than just books. When playing a board game, you’re reading the instructions, and when baking cookies with mom, you’re reading a recipe.