McArthur, Nancy

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McARTHUR, Nancy

PERSONAL: Born in Cleveland, OH; daughter of W. R. (in sales) and Irene (a homemaker) McArthur. Education: Baldwin-Wallace College, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—P.O. Box 296, Berea, OH 44017-0296. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Freelance writer. Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, OH, part-time lecturer in journalism; also worked in public relations connected with the performing arts.

MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime.

WRITINGS:

How to Do Theatre Publicity, Good Ideas (Berea, OH), 1978.

Megan Gets a Dollhouse, illustrated by Megan Lloyd, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1988.

Pickled Peppers, illustrated by Denise Brunkus, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1988.

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, Avon (New York, NY), 1988.

The Return of the Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, Avon (New York, NY), 1990.

The Adventure of the Buried Treasure, illustrated by Irene Trivas, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1990.

The Adventure of the Backyard Sleepout, illustrated by Irene Trivas, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1992.

The Escape of the Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, Avon (New York, NY), 1992.

The Secret of the Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.

More Adventures of the Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, Avon (New York, NY), 1994.

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks Goes Up in Space, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.

Mystery of the Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, Avon (New York, NY), 1996.

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks Gets a Girlfriend, Avon (New York, NY), 1997.

The Adventure of the Big Snow, illustrated by Mike Reed, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks Goes Hollywood, Avon (New York, NY), 1999.

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks (stage play), Dramatic Publishing (Woodstock, IL), 2000.

Contributor to books, including Stories for Free Children, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1982. Contributor to periodicals, including Writer.

SIDELIGHTS: Nancy McArthur once told CA: "I got interested in being a writer when I was about ten or eleven. My first published writing was in my high school newspaper.

"People ask me how I got the idea for my most popular book, The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks. One day I thought of the title, jotted it down, and threw it into my idea files. I write down any ideas, even if I don't know what I could possibly do with them. It is amazing how many random ideas turn out to be useful.

"To make up stories, I often ask myself questions. If I have an action in mind, to start developing a character I ask 'What kind of person would do this?' If I start with a character, I wonder 'What would this person do in such-and-such a situation?' So I thought, 'Who would really want a plant that eats dirty socks?' A very messy kid, of course. I remembered that when I was a kid, I was the messy one in the family. My brother and sister were very neat. So I gave my messy-boy character a neatness-nut little brother to drive him crazy. That funny conflict gave me the start for my story.

"In addition to using my imagination and experience, I also do research for realistic details to make my settings and characters lifelike. My books begin with a very messy rough draft, slowly constructed, while I figure out the story. Although I start with some ideas, many more emerge as I write."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1988, p. 169.

School Library Journal, December, 1988, p. 89.