Mary Pope Osborne Interview on The Magic Tree House


when I'm working on Magic Treehouse and

talking to children I always want them

to know one thing that I rewrite rewrite

rewrite and rewrite this is the process

and you have to do everything over and

over and then it gets better I always

start with what I think kids are going

to enjoy and I marry that to what I want

to learn about my brothers growing up

with my best friends and still are the

twin brother and a brother a year

younger and what we had in common was

our imagination and make-believe if you

are in the back of a picnic table and it

would be a ship we were in a tree and it

would be an airplane so wherever we were

there was a game going on and I carried

that into the magic tree house with Jack

and Annie Annie is a very brave girl

which I was not she's a girl I wish I'd

been and Jack is more like me has the

preciously approach those things but in

my imagination I developed both of those

characters the most fun I have in life

is with my dogs and I have two terriers

named Joey and mr. Bies oh and they're

with the almost all the time and when

I'm working they can be jumping on my

desk trying to take my pen they can be

at my feet willing to be scratched but

there's something wonderful and playful

about stopping now and then to wrestle

with them or throw the ball and I think

that keeps my energy up I'm always in

some kind of collaboration it's a work

of a team will my husband he's very

involved in jacketing on his lives and

he'll suggest things I haven't thought

of will did the first eight non-fiction

books then he got on to other projects

and we talked my sister Natalie he was a

very gifted writer into taking over his

job my readers are the reason this

series exists and great audiences of

kids showed me the way told me ideas and

I had them vote on ideas I still do did

you think they liked these ideas

they did and I noticed when the hands

went up generally there was a great sort

of excitement about deep-sea Jack and

Annie might be the first people to ever

go down into the diversion and then I

start my research and when I start

research I'm in another world and I take

tons of notes and tons of notes I read

you know really maybe 3040 books I'm on

the internet I go to museums out of my

notes a story starts to create itself

and as I begin to outline I'm beginning

to see the adventure take shape and

they're looking for the secret of

happiness what that secret is at the

bottom of the sea I do not know but I'll

know by the time I finish the book and

then I start the writing the chapter

writing and I do it over and over and

over often when I'm thinking of a

subject I'm talking to real about that

he's a sounding board well I've always

been Mary's informal first editor for

books and some days we'll spend an

entire morning deciding how a particular

kind of magic should work one of the big

questions I always have is how am I

getting a jacket inning down and then

deep deep sea when most people don't go

there I have the answer

measured that's where they they could

use the wand for thrown adults to be

talking about how to make magic work is

a wonderful way to make a living and

then in the very end you have the art

being added to the book the artist Sal

he's very curious he always has to have

historically or scientifically accurate

artworks kids got very interested in the

places that Jack and Annie traveled

and the subjects that they were into so

we decided that it might be useful to

have a companion line that basically

included the facts behind the fiction

and that's what we do in the research

books every single book has went

extraordinary fact I mean the fact that

sharks can smell a drop of blood for a

mile away is extraordinary and the fact

that a polar bear can walk over three

inches of ice with a huge 700 pound body

and disperses weight that's fascinating

each of the books has its own series of

miracle facts but just knocking out

we're really excited now about a musical

version of Magic Treehouse that I've

been working on for about a year

theater involves so much imagination on

the part of kids or any audience member

that this would still allow kids to

experience Jack and Annie in a different

way and make demands that they

participate that they use their

imagination to enjoy the show and still

give them a wonderful theatrical


well the first thing I would tell a

budding writer of any age is to love

reading first and to read turn off the

television read read read and then start

taking notes about your world write

things down carry a notebook like Jack

and love doing research and then when

you do start writing be willing to

rewrite and make it better and make it

better know that it's two things

wonderful fun and it's hard work and if

you can do those two things together

you'll always want to do it and you'll

do it well okay

we've decided deep ocean cold great got

it let's get started