Did you always want to be a writer?
I always enjoyed writing long letters and little poems, but I never
felt I had an exciting story to tell until my husband and I lived through
Hurricane Iniki on the island of Kauai in 1991. That's when I wrote my
first children's book. It was called Where Do All the Birds Go?
Who was the most difficult character for you
to write about in My Brothers' Keeper?
The character of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was the most difficult
for me to write about because he was a real person. I wanted what I wrote
about him to be an historically accurate picture of a man who went from
professor of religion to one of the great heroes of the battle at Gettysburg.
He became a general and then governor of Maine.
Why didn't you give The Man a name and why
did you capitalize The and Man.
Josh, Jere and Mattie were
a complete family unit without their stepfather and, since they didn't
like him and he didn't like them, it was almost as though he was a non-person.
By calling him just The Man and not giving him a name, it depersonalized
Why didn't you tell what happened to Josh and
Mattie after the war?
I wanted each reader to imagine what happened to Josh and Mattie
after the war ended. I think one of the best parts of reading is using
your own imagination to figure out why things happen or what is going to
happen next in a story.
What advice do you have for me when I write?
Write about something you are familiar with, something you know
about or love doing or care deeply about. That way your writing will be