EP: Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.
MH: I have this book I wrote and bound in second grade. All the students made books. We bound our books with masking tape, and then we stained the masking tape with burgundy shoe polish so it would look like leather. My story was about the sun. He was lonely because he didn’t have any friends. The sun envied the moon because the moon had stars for friends. Then the sun made friends with some little kids. The sun shone down on them when they came out to play. The end. I did the art myself with fine-tipped markers. From that starting point, the only place to go was up. I began to write professionally when I became an editorial assistant for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines in 1987. It was supposed to be a gap-year before I went to grad school. I’d write puzzles and retell Bible stories, and with the wonderful, on-the-job training I received from my boss, Ray , I etched out some not-so-bad material. I never ended the gap year. I spent 10 years writing for and editing magazines. Then I became a stay-at-home-mom, and did freelance writing. I wrote some children’s fiction books for Cook Communications that didn’t sell well. Then I wrote some phonic books that didn’t sell well. When I got hungry enough and all my kids were in school, I came back to Focus on the Family as a book editor.
EP: Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
MH: I am a full time writer/editor. I organize my writing time by what is the project I’m most behind on. I don’t have time for writer’s block. I don’t even have time for lunch. I’m always writing, editing, or talking about writing or editing.
EP: What influences your writing?
MH: The newspaper, my children, and biographies.
EP: What was the inspiration for these books?
MH: Paul McCusker and I have kids about the same age. We wanted to develop some historical fiction stories that were educational and fun for our own kids. So, I guess it was the lack of great reading material in the Christian market that inspired us. Had there not been a gap, we probably wouldn’t be writing these.
EP: Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
MH: Well, I have a webpage with my name in it, but I have one blog and haven’t updated it since December. This little Q and A is probably the best biographical information you can find about me. One book series is about twins who are beginning a TV career. They’re for upper elementary readers. One is a series for middle elementary. They are about the. You can still get my other books on Amazon—I think people have written reviews. I’m not a great self-promoter. I’m too busy writing!