Photo Gallery A pancake breakfast at a Northern NY sugarhouse – part of my tasty research for SUGAR AND ICE! More mouth-watering research – Italian wedding cookies (also known as Nonna’s Funeral Cookies in THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.) Jean Talon Market in Montreal, another scene I visited while writing THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. The Rolling Thunder demonstration in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day Weekend inspired me to write a picture book about this ride. Putting together my first worm composting bin! My family set up a worm bin in our basement as part of the research for MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS! Some residents of the worm bin! At the American Library Association Conference in 2009, I got to meet one of my long-time writing heroes, Judy Blume. That’s me inside the bee suit! I was doing research for the scene in SUGAR AND ICE where Claire and Natalie argue out at the bee hives. Copperas Pond in the Adirondacks. This setting was the inspiration for MARTY MCGUIRE’S pond-filled school pond. My family likes catching frogs, too! A sculpture of Lake Champlain’s legendary monster, Champ, on the Burlington, Vermont waterfront. Champ was the inspiration for SEA MONSTER’S FIRST DAY. That’s me checking out a caiman (like a crocodile) on a Costa Rica riverbank. The boat driver drifted just a little closer than this, and then the caiman jumped into the water (causing me to jump about a mile, too!). A double rainbow over Lake Champlain, where I live. One of my manuscripts during the revision stage. Messy, huh? The Robert Frost Trail in Ripton, Vermont. All along the trail, there are plaques with Frost poems that fit the landscape. This was the inspiration for one of the chapters in THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. And this is the amazing climbing tree that Gianna climbs in the book! I couldn’t resist climbing it, too. In MARTY MCGUIRE, Marty loves catching frogs and even (can you imagine?) ends up kissing one. Guess what I did for research for that book… Yep! You guessed it! (The frog wasn’t nearly as slimy as I’d guessed it might be. It was just smooth and cool, and truly, I think it was more upset about the kiss than I was!) The 7th grade leaf collection project at my middle school was the inspiration for THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. The Adirondack cross country skiing trail that inspired OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW. Can you spot the snowshoe hare tracks? Look who met me in the lobby when I went to New York City to visit my Scholastic editor! I love visiting schools to talk with kids about books and writing. The view from New York City’s historic Flatiron Building. I got a tour when I visited my Walker/Bloomsbury publishing team after THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z. won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award. Here’s the award. Isn’t it lovely? I keep it in my office now. This is my friend’s pet hedgehog, Hermione. I babysat for her one weekend, and she bit me. I haven’t put that in a book yet, but I might some day. Here I am at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. where the huge flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner is on display. On a research trip for my mystery THE STAR SPANGED SETUP (Scholastic, 2012), I spent a morning trying to figure out how thieves might be able to steal the flag and sneak it out of the museum. (Don’t worry…I didn’t actually try it!) A glass frog protecting its eggs on the underside of a leaf. A deadly fer de lance viper that was right on the hiking trail. Our guide had us stand back while he coaxed it off the trail with a long stick. The snake is incredibly dangerous but also beautiful in an eerie way. My Costa Rica research meant some hot, sticky afternoons hiking through the rainforest, and seeing some incredible animals! A poison dart frog in Costa Rica. Sophisticated weather measurement equipment at the University of Oklahoma. My research trip here was to learn more about tornadoes for my dystopian storm novel, EYE OF THE STORM (Walker/Bloomsbury, 2012) And finally…here’s a shot of Lake Champlain from my back yard.