Please tell us a little about yourself and What If We Had a Dinosaur?

I have written many children’s books, English and Spanish. What If We Had a Dinosaur? An Interactive Children’s Fantasy Story is the first children’s book I have published. The book is beautifully illustrated by Colorado artist Charles Luna. The book is part of a series, and the second book in the series will be published this year. After a “dinosaur naming” event to give our triceratops a name, the rest of the series will follow.

In 2021, I published My Father’s Voice, a biography posthumously chronicling my father’s life through his own stories about growing up during the Depression, WWII, and becoming a celebrated educator/administrator. I have also written a book of poetry, a personal memoir, The Acreage, and a cookbook, Marguerite’s Kitchen

I have traveled extensively in the United States, Mexico, and Europe and lived in Beijing, China. I am currently working on a memoir about what it’s really like to live in China.

How did you choose the genre of your book?

Literacy is a powerful tool. I used to sit on my father’s lap, and he read the Sunday funnies to me. I was able to read before I started school. I began reading to my children when they were very young. They both loved dinosaurs. They knew all their names, and my son could draw them with surprising accuracy at an early age. I wanted to capture the fun we had with dinosaurs in a book and to provide a vehicle for other children to enjoy imagining what it would be like to have an unusual pet.

What was your editing process like?

Like many artists, I write, read, read aloud, and rewrite until the words have the right melody in my head and my mouth.

How did you develop your characters?

People we know are the best models for characters. Because they are within our orbit, we can examine their physical traits and behaviors under a microscope. In What If We Had a Dinosaur?, the characters are modeled after my children.

How did you create/acquire the cover art?

Charles Luna is a well-known Colorado artist. Early on, he created many fantasy people and animals. I thought his gift for creating the imaginary would be perfect for a children’s fantasy story.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on the second book of the Dinosaur series called 10 Rules for Keeping a Dinosaur (and Other Pets). The book blends the fantasy fun of taking care of a dinosaur with helping children understand the responsibilities of pet care.

Portions of this Q&A were edited for clarity.