Adrienne Mason - Author
Adrienne Mason works as a full-time writer and editor from her home on the west coast of Vancouver Island. She is the author of more than 20 books for children and five books for adults as well as numerous magazine articles in publications including National Geographic Kids, , Boys' Life, YES Mag and others. Her books for Kids Can Press include the Lu and Clancy series, five titles in the KCP Wildlife Series (Otters, Owls, Skunks, Snakes and Bats) and the Primary Physical Sciences series. Adrienne also works as the managing editor of KNOW: The Science Magazine for Curious Kids.
Adrienne enjoys spending time in the outdoors --- hiking, camping, beach combing and cycling --- with her husband, a national park warden, and two daughters. She has a Bachelor of Scence in Biology and is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.
Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Where do you live now?
Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
When did you start writing?
Seriously in about 1991.
How do you research or create your stories?
An idea will often come to me at the strangest times. Perhaps when I am driving or hiking or having a shower. When my mind relaxes, I suppose, good ideas often come. I start to keep a file on what I will be writing on and do a lot of research. In some ways the research is my favorite part. I search the Internet, go to the library (often three or four libraries and I have to go to Vancouver or Victoria to do this as I live in a small town) and talk to experts in the field. Then I make a very detailed outline. This is a very important step as it keeps me on track when I am writing. Since I usually write non-fiction, it is very easy to get off topic and onto something else that is interesting. You can't squeeze everything into one book so an outline is a critical step for me.
What is your favorite food?
All types of East Indian food.
What are your hobbies?
Hiking, camping, skiing, running, cooking, gardening, and... flamenco dancing!
What was your training or schooling?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria. I have no formal writing training, other than a few workshops.
What is your favorite book?
Children's books? I love Ursula Le Guin's Catwings books.
What is the thing you like the most about creating kids' books?
I have a quote on my desk, “I'm only interested in everything.” I love researching and finding out new bits of information. I'm very interested in nature and science, so I've been able to combine my love for these topics, my natural curiosity (I'm a big kid in that regard I think) and the enjoyment I get from creating new things (like books!) together into a great career.
How do you create your stories?
I guess I do things differently from someone who writes fiction. I start with the topic and think about why it would be interesting to a young person and how I can present this information in an interesting way. My ideas come to me from any direction at any time. I seem to get my best ideas (or work through problems) when I'm in the shower or running or hiking on the beach.
Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
Well, I like ju-jubes and other small candies, so I sometimes try to sneak in an experiment that includes them so that I have a good excuse to buy some candy and test out the project!
Do you have any tips for young creators?
I write mostly about science and nature so I am infinitely curious about the world around me. Explore, ask questions and then try to find the answers to those questions. I would really recommend you keep a journal. You don't have to write in it every day or even write at all --- draw pictures, cut out pictures, copy out poems that you like, stick in photographs, doodle, whatever!
Where do you work?
I have an office (with great purple walls) in my home. I work on my computer there but if the weather is good I will often do research or edit on paper outside. (That doesn't happen too much as it rains a lot where I live.) I also consider hiking part of work sometimes (a very nice part!) as I get a lot of my ideas and work through what I am writing as I hike. I've actually just taken a job after more than a decade of freelancing. I am the managing editor of a new science magazine for children. It's called KNOW: The Science Magazine for Curious Kids.
What is the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
I've been very lucky to have some wonderful jobs. I taught marine biology to high school kids on a tall ship as it sailed throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean. I also worked as the Public Education Coordinator at the Bamfield Marine Station on Vancouver Island. I loved this job as I got to work with people of all ages who were interested in the marine environment and also got to meet many scientists to learn about their work.