How did you first start writing?
Moira: "I started my writing career about fifteen years ago. I initially wrote two children's books about punctuation. As a former legislative lawyer, I had a very strong appreciation for the value of a well-placed punctuation mark that I wanted to share with children, although I have heard that some librarians in law schools even refer their law students to my punctuation books!" (Note from Marty: My husband, who teaches legal writing, keeps a copy of Moira's book ALFIE THE APOSTROPHE in his office to brandish in front of his law students!)
Moira continues, "But then I sort of fell into writing nonfiction when I was approached by an editor. I didn't think I'd like it. After all, when I was young, I rarely read nonfiction—and only if it related to dogs or ballet! But now I find that I can't get enough of writing it! I love learning about people and animals and history. And I love that feeling of getting completely lost and immersed in another time, another world, another life. Of course, I still write some fiction because otherwise all those crazy stories, like dancing punctuation marks and crime-solving dogs, would take over my brain."
|Moira's latest book|
Moira, tell us about what's on your fridge.
"What's on your fridge?" is a question that really makes you take stock of what you are doing with your life. When I stepped back and looked at mine, I was astonished at how much on my fridge was related to travel—either magnet souvenirs of interesting places I have been (Singapore, Tivoli Gardens and Australia); cards from places friends and family have been; and tickets to places I am going. I guess travel is a big part of my life. And it often intersects with my writing life as well. For instance, I went to Denver to see (and kiss) an amazing pig I wrote about in PARROT GENIUS. And I hope to get to the Krefelt Zoo in Germany someday to see Kidogo, the tightrope-walking gorilla I just wrote a story about."
Moira, what is your favorite thing on the fridge, and why?
"Wow, if I am completely honest, it is a card with a photo of a mother and baby giraffe on it. It's a thank you note from my daughter after my husband and I visited her when she was in Kenya. Not only does it remind me of that wonderful trip and of kissing giraffes while I was there, but she expresses her appreciation for the fact that we gave her the chance to explore the world and to become who she is supposed to be. I feel good that she saw that we were trying to do that. And I guess I hope, in a tiny way, that books I write for children will help them see things in the world in their own unique way."
|Moira and her pup, Petunia|