Mary Pope Osborne is a soft spoken, unique and patient author who made us feel loved and worthy of being listened to. We met her when she made a visit to Marion Elementary School in Lynbrook. She answered all of our questions thoroughly. Her love for writing is evident in the fact that she wrote 10 books before her famous series. She has written 55 Magic Tree House books, and is currently working on her 56th book. Wow! The fire inside her for writing is still blazing hot!
Why might that be? Mary Pope Osborne’s parents played an important role in her love for reading and writing, bringing her to the library weekly with her sisters and brothers. She was a military child and had the opportunity to travel the world, which inspired her to read and learn about the world around her because she was curious about other cultures. Her musician, playwright husband Will encouraged her and continues to work side-by-side with her, as a team. Her sister Natalie co-authors books with her as well.
We asked her, What made you think of the name Magic Tree House? She said, “Well, I tried to name all forms of magic first. Magic artist studio, magic cellar, magic whistles, magic music and I could not find the right time travel idea. Then I was in the woods with my husband in Pennsylvania and I saw a treehouse. I said what if we put two kids in the treehouse and suddenly it all came together. The Magic Tree House was born that year.”
We wanted to know what was her inspiration for writing the book, “Blizzard of the Blue Moon”? Mary said, “I wanted to do something about New York City. I wanted to do a blizzard. I wanted to do a unicorn. So when I start to piece things together, I can pull them all into one idea. I chose 1939, the Depression, all of these things I wanted in my story, so that’s how it happened.”
She has written so many books we were sure she had an inspiration to have her become a writer. And, she did! She said, “I think my husband more than anybody. When I first started writing in my 20s, we just got married and he was so positive, so encouraging, that every day I felt that I was just writing for him. If you have at least someone like that, a teacher, a parent, a sibling, somebody, it’s great, it’s encouraging. I owe a lot to him.”
Finally we wanted to know how she gets over writer’s block. Mary told us, “I take a break. I get up and I walk away. I let my dog in or out. This is the best secret I know. You take a mental break, relax your brain. Scientists call it the shower effect. They get in the shower and they’re not thinking about it and they get the answer. The worst thing you can do is get into a spinning wheel and you can’t think of the answer and quit. I love the break idea.”
If you are a fan, she just launched the “Magic Tree House” Kids’ Adventure Club. It is the first-ever club where kid adventurers can come together. By joining the Kids’ Adventure Club, members will receive packages in the mail throughout the year, members-only goodies, and the opportunity to Skype with the person who knows Jack and Annie’s adventures best — Mary Pope Osborne! Check the website MTHKidsClub.com