To begin our year of Skinny Dippin’ for 2020, and in the coldest month of the year (brrrrr), we interviewed Caroline B. Cooney, the author of so many beloved books including The Face on the Milk Carton, Code Orange, No Such Person, and her most recent picture book, I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! Look for her new book for adult readers in May 2020, Before She Was Helen. These books will warm you up! Caroline lives and writes in South Carolina.
What keeps me up at night: Everything. I have insomnia. Whoever wants to send me solutions, I’m listening. On the other hand, I have a lot more reading time than sleeping people do.
I never thought I would: live in a retirement community, but it is so easy to make friends and find new challenges and things to do — it’s a cruise ship without the water.
My mom was right about: pretty much everything. She died at 98 and my children still talk of the examples she set and the pleasure they had in her company.
If I could say one thing to my fifty-years-younger self, it would be: STAY IN SCHOOL! However, maybe I didn’t finish college, but I did finish dozens of books.
I’m currently reading: reprints of two wonderful English authors, D.E.Stevenson and Georgette Heyer — delightful gentle mysteries written decades ago. They’ve all stood the test of time. Start with Stevenson’s Miss Buncle’s Book.
No one knows that I have: perfect pitch. It’s an asset no one can see and no one knows you’re using it.
I tell myself every day: to be thankful. I usually repeat a few lines from E. E. Cummings:
i thank You God for most this amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky.
What’s on my nightstand: Tom Holland’s Dynasty, the follow up to his outstanding history of Julius Caesar, Rubicon.
My heroes are: my parents, who because of the Depression, could not follow dreams, but who could work hard, raise a good family, and live well.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done: The year I packed up my children and went to live in London because it sounded like something an author would do. We lived on a street where Mary Poppins might have dropped in.
Guiltiest pleasure: I don’t feel guilty about taking joy in life. Some of my pleasures right now are pottery, mah jong, and, of course, friends.
The scariest book I’ve ever read: I can write scary books, but I don’t generally read them. I am happy to spook others, but I don’t myself want to be on the ceiling with anxiety.