What was your family like?
A lot like the family in Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself. That's my most autobiographical book. Sally is the kind of girl I was at ten. Curious and imaginative, but also a worrier. My brother was like Douglas, Sally's brother. He was very good at science and always building something in our basement workshop.
Are any of your other characters based on you or your family?
Sheila, in Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great, has most of my childhood fears. And Margaret, in Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, is a lot like me when I was in sixth grade. (Oh oh – now you know some of my secrets!) But Margaret's family is very different from mine.
What about Fudge?
I knew you'd ask me about him! Fudge was based on my son, Larry, when he was a toddler. Larry never swallowed a turtle, though. That idea came from a news article about a toddler who actually did swallow one!
Are you married?
Yes. My husband was a law professor. He also wrote non-fiction books. When we moved to Key West, he started a non-profit movie theater. I call him Mister Movie!
How many kids do you have?
We have three grownup children between us, and one teenaged grandchild.
Do you have any pets?
We had a wonderful Calico cat who lived to be sixteen. Now our children have the pets and we get to visit them. Amanda has a dozen horses, three dogs, and five cats. Randy has one cat, and another who sometimes stays over. My personal favorite was Mookie. She belonged to Larry, but she loved us. We called her our grand-dog. She also lived to be sixteen. I still miss her. If I didn't travel so much I'd want a dog just like her.