Tag Archives: Famous Authors

Something You’ll Wish You Didn’t Know About These Famous Children’s Book Authors


Answer this question:
What makes someone want to write for kids?

Following are five famous children’s book authors—their names familiar to almost everyone and their books, classics:

A.A. Milne authored the sweet, beloved “Winnie-the-Pooh” books. They’ve stood the test of time. Just released, August 2018, a movie, Goodbye Christopher Robin, based on characters from his books.

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Margaret Wise Brown, author of that famously simple and soothing, everything-is-alright-sleep-tight, bedtime book,”Goodnight Moon”.

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Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)— “The Cat in the Hat”, “Horton Hears a Who”, “Hop on Pop”, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”, “Green Eggs and Ham” . . . He authored 46 books for children.

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Shel Silverstein. He wrote “The Giving Tree”, one of the most popular and widely discussed children’s books ever. Silverstein is also well known among children’s book authors for his poetry collections, “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “A Light in the Attic”.

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Maurice Sendak—”Let the wild rumpus start!” Who doesn’t know that quote from Sendak’s most famous book? Like A.A. Milne’s work, Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” was made into a feature film. Along with other children’s books, he also wrote and directed an animated television special, Really Rosie, based on characters from his stories.

What do these authors have in common? All wrote for children. All were made famous by their children’s books. AND—here is something you’ll wish you didn’t know—They disliked kids!

Christopher-robin-quote-1A.A. Milne didn’t necessarily dislike children, but he disliked that the books he wrote for them ruined his lifelong dream. Milne hated being called a children’s author. He believed his popular children’s books kept him from being recognized as an aspiring British playwright.

5215451-Margaret-Wise-Brown-Quote-Goodnight-nobody-goodnight-mush.jpgMargaret Wise Brown said, “I don’t especially like children. At least not as a group. I won’t let anybody get away with anything just because he is little.” She had a child-like imagination, a playful one, and that translated well to children’s books.

Dr.-Seuss-Quotes-36-I-Was-Saving-The-Name-Of-Geisel-For-The...-QuotesTheodor Geisel didn’t have kids of his own. According to his widow, he was somewhat afraid of them. He didn’t know how to act around or have fun with them. Still, he enjoyed writing for them.

underneath-my-outside-face-theres-a-face-that-none-can-see-a-little-less-smiley-a-little-less-sure-quote-1.jpgShel Silverstein, the “bad boy of children’s literature”. Some of his stories for children are controversial, and that’s no surprise. He wrote for Playboy Magazine, hung out with Hugh Hefner, had numerous affairs with women, and is known for living wild. Silverstein disliked children’s literature and found it condescending. He only began writing for kids after much coaxing by his author and editor friends.

hans-christian-andersen-gonna-make-statue-park-lot-scrambling-quote-at-storemypic-0a8eb.pngMaurice Sendak is said by his peers to have had a bad temper. He thought of himself as crazy and said he would never choose to raise a child himself because he believed he would fail. He didn’t really like children, but they fascinated him by their imaginations—how they thought and survived. His books often showed them a darker side of life, perhaps because he’d lost relatives to the Holocaust. “I refuse to cater to the (expletive) of innocence.” he said. “The Holocaust has run like a river of blood through all my books.”

What makes someone want to write for kids?
Maybe you’ll want to rethink your answer.

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Filed under children's books, Famous Authors, Trivia, Uncategorized

A Tour of 12 Famous Authors’ Homes

I’m back after an unexpected blogging hiatus. The holidays and a flurry of writing projects made me put the blog aside for a while. For one of those projects, I’ve been researching where famous authors lived and wrote. Here’s some of what I’ve found.

I love this quaint little house in Austin, Texas, don’t you? This is the place William Sidney Porter (O.Henry) called home. Can you imagine him penning “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief” here? Find out more . . .


If you traveled from there up to Mansfield, Missouri, you could visit Rocky Ridge Farm where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the “Little House” books. If Laura’s daughter, Rose, hadn’t encouraged Laura to write those beloved stories, we might never have known about her.LauraIngalls

twainHeading over to the East Coast, in Hartford, Connecticut there’s Mark Twain’s estate. Personally, I find the exterior foreboding, but the inside is pure Victorian grandeur. Take a look . . .Mark_Rooms_Conservatory

In Massachusetts, you can tour the homes of Emily Dickinson and Louisa May Alcott.

emily-dickinson-homestead-amherst-massachusettsEmily’s home is in Amherst. She’s often described as being reclusive. Can you imagine her sitting all alone in that turret writing her melancholy poems?

Alcott’s home, in Concord, is where she wrote “Little Women.” The exterior of the house might look familiar. A replica of Orchard House was the setting for all the “Little Women” films. The 1949 film is my favorite. If you’ve never seen the movie, put it on your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Let’s make one last stop in the states before we head across the pond to Europe. Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe had a cottage in the Bronx, New York? This modest little house is where he wrote his poems “Annabel Lee”and “The Bells” and also the short story “The Cask of Amontillado”.

Now, on to Scotland.

You can’t think of George Orwell apart from his novel “1984”. Following the death of his wife, Orwell sought solitude. He found it in a farmhouse on the remote Scottish island, Jura. He arrived with only a cot, chairs, a table and a typewriter. This is where he finished “1984”.


A tour of England wouldn’t be complete without visiting these authors’ homes:

Agatha Christie’s home, Greenway, in Dartmouth, isn’t the sort of home I’d imagined for her. What do you think? The house is set on the banks of the River Dart. Her boathouse inspired the scene of the crime in “Dead Man’s Folly”.

Agatha Christiec3e80a879af7a6b354bd167a3f2554be

I love Dylan Thomas’ boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. I want to write there!

Dylan Thomas

Frances Hodgson Burnett was the J.K. Rowling of her time. She lived in Kent in this huge house, Great Maytham Hall. Burnett described it “a charming place with a nicely finished park and a beautiful old walled kitchen garden. The house is excellent, paneled square hall, library, billiard room, morning room, smoking room, drawing and dining rooms, seventeen or eighteen bedrooms, stables, two entrance lodges to the park, and a square tower on the roof from which one can see the English Channel.” The gardens there inspired her classic book, “The Secret Garden”. Read more . . .


Thomas Hardy wrote “Under the Greenwood Tree” and “Far From the Madding Crowd” in this lovely thatched-roofed cottage in Dorset. It was also his childhood home. Take the tour!

Thomas Hardy

I wonder how many Easter baskets have held copies of Beatrix Potter’s books. Her Hill Top home , Near Sawrey, Ambleside, has a similar ambiance to Thomas Hardy’s, don’t you agree?

Do you wonder what goes on behind the scenes to maintain houses like hers? Click here.


If you haven’t already, click on the links in this post to see more and learn about the lives of these amazing writers.


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Filed under Famous Authors, Trivia, Uncategorized, Writing Spaces

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing

Do you have a stringent work routine? The iconic and controversial author, Henry Miller, did. He stuck to his routine and even wrote eleven commandments for himself to follow:

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “(other work)”.
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Miller didn’t stop there. He also created what he called his “Daily Program.”

If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.

If in fine fettle, write.

Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

See friends. Read in cafés.

Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.

Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.

Paint if empty or tired.

Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.

I can’t help but wonder if Miller really stuck with this rigorous routine.
I doubt that I could.

Could you?


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Filed under Famous Authors, Writing Process