ST- Can you share with us how did you decide to take up writing? What inspires you?
I loved animal stories and Albert Terhune’s (Lad, a Dog) name comes to mind. I also treasured the books by Frances H. Burnett (The Secret Garden) and Louisa May Alcott (Little Women). Today I am a big fan of Katherine Paterson, Patricia Polacco, Jane Yolen and many others, too numerous to mention. Any books by Bill Martin, Jan Brett, Tomie DePaola,Kevin Hankes, Helen Lester should be among the ‘must reads’ for children.
You have done some work for Barefoot. Tell us more about the collaboration.
Barefoot found my Safari book in their ‘slush pile.’ After it proved successful, we sat down together and selected places I had visited and could write about and countries they wanted to add to their list. It was a lovely collaboration.
You enjoy travel, don’t you? How does that influence your work? When you write on Nile, Andes, rainforests, Mexico, there must be a lot of research. Do you also ensure you travel there?
I have been fortunate in visiting each of the countries I have written about. This has given me a sense of the people, the geography and their culture. Upon my return home, I added to my notes by doing additional research in the hopes that my information would always be accurate.
How much of a say do you have in the illustration style in your books?
My editors and staff choose my illustrators. I have no say in the media, perspective or layout of the picture books. I do have a say in the scientific aspects of the book. It is important that things are represented correctly.
With Beeman, you collaborated with Valeria. How was that experience? Also tell us more about the book.
Again, I did not choose Valeria, but I enjoyed our correspondence while The Beeman was being created. I wrote the story because I am married to The Beeman. He is a great teacher and I learned to respect and be fascinated by the world of honeybees.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am still writing and am working on some middle grade novels. At the moment, there is nothing being published.
Any anecdotes you wish to share from your career writing for children?
Being a children’s author is the best of both worlds. I have time to write, which I love, and I am welcomed back into the classroom to share my stories and the writing process with children. I am very fortunate indeed.
You can get Laurie's books from Amazon or other online publishers if you are in India. Butterfly Books in Bangalore sometimes offers Barefoot publications.