Monday, April 18, 2016


Moira Rose Donohue and I first met for coffee after an essay I wrote about the Scottish actor, Gerard Butler, appeared in the Washington Post.  We are both admirers of "Gerry."  A few months later (not because of Gerry) I ended up joining a wonderful critique group that included Moira.  She is a talented writer and one of those fabulous people whose personality just sparkles.  Today, we'll learn a little more about her, and then Moira will answer the burning question, "What's on your fridge?"

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
Drum roll:  May I present Moira's fridge and what's on it!

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
Besides ALFIE THE APOSTROPHE and PENNY AND THE PUNCTUATION BEE, Moira Rose Donohue has published two series of biographies for the educational market with State Standards Publishing, Inc., a just-released biography about Lyndon Johnson with My Core Library (an ABDO imprint) and two chapter books with National Geographic Kids:  KANGAROO TO THE RESCUE and PARROT GENIUS. She has more on the way, including DOG ON A BIKE, scheduled for release in spring, 2017.  She is the Nonfiction Coordinator for the SCBWI MidAtlantic Region.  She also loves tap dancing, old movies, hockey and dogs, and is the self-proclaimed Queen of Punctuation.  Learn more at

1 comment: