|Paul Fleischman makes sure that he takes time to play bocce-ball with his friends and to play musical instruments whenever he can, even though he is a busy young adult novelist and children's book writer. Paul never dreamed that he would become a writer when he was older. Growing up in sunny and bright California, he liked to spend his time outdoors. He never really thought about what he wanted to do when he grew up. In fact, he wrote his first book called THE BIRTHDAY TREE right before he was about to graduate from college and realized he needed to have a job when he finished school! His father writes novels also, and Paul remembers him reading his own books to the family. Paul's family spent a lot of time together playing games and telling stories to one another. They never watched television together, but would sit in the living room together after dinner. That's where Paul got some of his inspiration when he decided to write the books, JOYFUL NOISE: POEMS FOR TWO VOICES and I AM PHOENIX: POEMS FOR TWO VOICES. He believes that there's education in the pleasure of being (and reading!) with others. Paul doesn't think about the age of his readers, but just writes what he feels compelled to write. He feels that the best place for him to get some really good thinking and writing done is where it's very quiet. He usually strives to write for about eight hours a day. Paul's historical novels, which include GRAVEN IMAGES and SATURNALIA, take a lot of research. In fact, he spends as much time researching and planning the books as he does to write them. As he says about writing historical novels, "It takes a lot of fat books to write a thin one!" Although Paul didn't think he was going to become a writer, he says that the idea of writing for children wouldn't have ever occurred to him without his father as a mentor. A fun fact: both Paul and his dad love history--and the stranger it is, the better!