How did I ever become a writer? I was not orphaned. I never had to work in a shoe-blacking factory or live in an isolated country vicarage. Other than the threat of atomic annihilation, my childhood was an agreeable one. I grew up in a lively extended family that crammed into station wagons, tents, boats, and cabins for adventures to woods and waters along the California coast, and magically on the island of Oahu. My people were storytellers, fascinated with history, news, and gossip; our house was full of books; and we were left to imagine and dream. In Jane Austen’s works I found the world I knew and began to write stories of falling in love standing up (mostly fully clothed) in the midst of family and friends. Twenty-one books later I’m still telling stories.