Frequently asked questions

Where do you get your ideas to write?

Writers can be inspired by people, places, things, and experiences. My first Chesapeake Bay waterfowl conservation books were inspired by my Great Uncle Robert G. Litzenberg, renowned decoy carer and furniture maker. His wax figure and decoys are displayed in the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. He would tell me stories of hunting on the Upper Bay when the sky was black with ducks and there were no hunting limits. The bay was so clean you could make coffee with it. Flocktales from the Flats teaches about four important eras of waterfowl hunting: 1910, 1930, 1950, and present day. Each book helps to explain why there are fewer waterfowl species on the Bay. Grandpa’s Basement tell about a grandfather teaching his grandson how to carve his first decoy as the grandfather passes on stories about the Bay to his grandson.

The Sand Lady, A Cape May Tale and The Sand Lady, An Ocean City, Maryland Tale are inspired by experiences at the beach. Early Beach history with its Victorian houses, hotels, and life-saving stations inspired me to write both story about a girls who makes a lady in the sand. When Natalie adds the magic egret feather to her hat, the sand lady comes alive. Together, they fly across the ocean and go back in time one hundred years ago to the Victorian beach resorts.

The Teacher Who Made a Difference was inspired by a personal experience with my third grade teacher. It also sends an anti-bullying message. S is for Sea Glass was inspired by my first experience at a sea glass festival and a curiosity of sea glass. This A to Z book sends a strong environmental message about our oceans.

Ice Cream Cones and Heart Stones was inspired by an exprerience and the beach. It was also inspired by the purpose to help children manage their grief. Even children need to understand that they need to find their place of peace and solace after a loss. Identifying the stages of their grief and having a place to connect with their feelings will help them on their grief journey of healing.

What are some good practices to improve your writing?

1. Young writers should try writing about what they know and personal

experiences in a personal narrative. Write everyday and write about what interests you.

2. Good writers get as close to the experience and subject matter as possible. Think about the sensory experiences of your characters and the setting. Engage yourself in the hands-on experiences in your writing. For example, for my waterfowl books I learned how to carve decoys, went hunting, interviewed duck hunters, and learned duck and goose calling!

3. Jot down your ideas when they come to you, then write your notes in sentences. Later, as you learn the writing craft, use strong verbs, similes and metaphors, and dialogue tags.

4. Continue to read rich texts that serve as models for the writing craft. Revisit your writing often and have someone else read it.

5. Never give up!