When is your birthday?
May. That makes emeralds my birth stone, which is fabulous because green happens to be my favorite color.
Do you have any siblings?
An older and fabulous sister. Ancient photo to the left.
What was your favorite subject in elementary school?
Art and History. I was always a reader, but I didn't become a serious writer until later in life (and no, English wasn't my favorite subject)!
What is your favorite dessert?
Tough question. I would have to settle on carrot cake.
Do you have any pets?
I do! And I've been told I have to put a cap on the amount of kittens I rescue. We currently have two American cats (a Devon Rex and a hairless Peterbald) and three Arabians we rescued on campus at the American University of Sharjah where I currently live. We use to have a bunny rabbit named Ebony. We couldn't bring her to the UAE because bunnies don't do well on planes. Ebony, we hope you are well.
Do you have children?
Three daughters. They are my everything.
Do you know any other languages?
Arabic. But not as well as I would like to know. I studied the classical form and can read Quran, picture books and news papers--all with the help of a dictionary. My speaking skills are weak and wish I could converse with more ease. Or be completely bilingual. I think parents who are raising bilingual children are giving their kids a great advantage and respect it tremendously.
Of all the places that you have traveled which is your favorite?
I've been to Jerusalem and that was pretty special. A close second includes Damascus, Istanbul, Nizwa (Oman), and Vancouver Island (Canada).
Why do you write?
It brings me joy! I also hope to be a joy maker for all you lovely readers out there.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A forest ranger or a marine biologist. Nature has always been my go-to happy spot.
Who are your favorite authors?
In the picture book genre I positively drool over Tomie DePoala and Leo Lionni. As far as MG goes, I love Kate DiCamillo. She is a real master. It is hard for me to choose favorite YA authors--love John Green, Patrick Ness, Jacqueline Woodson, Ransom Riggs, oh, the list goes on.
What do you miss the most about the U.S.A?
I miss three things: my family (hugs to all!), the woods (more hugs!), and my local library. The latter, Bacon Free Library in Natick, Massachusetts, was built in 1880 and is a small, one-room building that over looks the Charles River. Bucolic.