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Dinosaurs and Their World

The Story Behind the Book

First books are special. For some writers, their first book is their only book. When mine was published, I had no idea that more than a hundred would follow. Also, sometimes a writer decides that his or her first book was flawed, an embarrassment. One author who felt that way spent the rest of his life hunting down copies of his first novel, in order to destroy them all!

Fortunately, I still like what I wrote in this, my first book (and first of three dinosaur books, with perhaps another one yet to come). The book has one feature that is special to me: on page 15 a photo shows a girl kneeling by some fossil dinosaur tracks. Those tracks were unearthed when I was working on the book, so my family went to the site in Connecticut. I took photos of my daughter Heidi (in the photo), and her brother Jeffrey, inspecting ancient dinosaur footprints.

I struggled, writing Dinosaurs and Their World, partly because it was the longest piece of writing in my life. One help: I divided it into nine chapters, and thought of each one as a rather short magazine article. Added together, they made a long book. You might do the same if you have a long, tough writing job. Try to find a way to divide it into smaller pieces. This can make the whole job feel less overwhelming.

My writing about dinosaurs was rejected eight times. Then a very wise editor named Margaret K. McElderry decided to publish it. (Clicking on Reviewers & Reviews leads to some of its reviews. Also, if you click on the paperback edition of this dinosaur book, you will learn why that book is probably the most unusual book ever written about dinosaurs!)