Mary Pope Osborne - Author
Mary Pope Osborne is the author of the very popular The Magic Tree House series. Read thoughts from Ms. Osborne below.
I’m a creature of constant change . . .
No two days of writing for the last 20 odd years have been the same. I write at every time of the day. I carry my laptop to every part of the house — or to places outside the house. I’m a creature of constant change. I do a lot of research before I start writing, but I do a great deal more after I start writing, as I confront more and more questions about the subject matter.
I’m living an extraordinary life . . .
The best part of being a writer is being transported to other places and living other experiences. By surrounding myself with the smells, weather, animals, and people of imaginary landscapes, I feel as if I’m living an extraordinary life. The worst part of being a writer is not having enough time or energy to write all the things I want to write.
I started writing poetry in high school . . .
I was living in North Carolina and I loved the work of Thomas Wolfe. Not until my late twenties did I have any idea I could be a writer. I only knew that I loved living in my imagination, and that no matter what job I was doing, my mind and thoughts were elsewhere. I was ready to settle for being a professional daydreamer.
I’ve had too many favorite authors to
list . . .
As a child, I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett and Laura Ingalls Wilder. In my teen years: Thomas Wolfe, J. D. Salinger, Hermann Hesse, and Jack Kerouac. In my twenties: Tolstoy, Nabokov, E. B. White, and Colette. Since then I’ve had too many to list. The Little Princess, The Three Ugly Sisters, and Big Farmer Big were my favorite books.
To aspiring writers:
Write, write, write. Always try to have fun and at the same time always do the hard work of rewriting.
Thoughts about The Magic Tree House:
We passed an old dilapidated tree
house . . .
I spent a year trying different ways to get two kids back in time. I tried an enchanted cellar with magic whistles, an enchanted museum, and an enchanted artist’s studio. I wrote seven different manuscripts using different magical devices and nothing worked. Then on a walk in the country with my husband, we passed an old dilapidated tree house. We started talking about the tree house . . . and continued talking about it. The next day I tried writing about it—to see if it might possibly be magic. And it was.
They started dreaming me up . . .
At first I just dreamed Jack and Annie up. They seem so happy and complete. I don’t want to subject them to the awful peer pressure that comes with growing older. They’d probably start hanging around the mall instead of climbing into the tree house.
My brothers and I had great adventures on our bikes and in the woods and on the beach where we lived. We felt as though we’d been to far distant worlds by the time we came home—adventures we happily kept to ourselves. I want kids to live through Jack and Annie’s independent journeys as well as their own!
If you would like to contact Ms. Osborne, please send your letters to:
Mary Pope Osborne
c/o Random House, Inc.
New York, NY 10019
Visit the official The Magic Tree House Website!