Lisa Bullard
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about Lisa
studio and Mutzi
lots of snow in a Bemidji winter
Growing up in small town Minnesota, writers were my heroes. I didn’t believe I could possibly become a published author myself. I decided that someday I’d settle for a job as a spy, or a detective, or a mad scientist, and I wrote just for the fun of it. Stories, poems, novels, and comic strips piled up in my room. I also created adventures based on the books I loved. When my friends and I weren’t busy skating on Minnesota’s lakes (during the frozen winters) or cannonballing into them (during the steamy summers), we acted out my adventures in the backyard and the basement.

My first published piece came in 5th grade, with a letter to the Bemidji newspaper about the plight of baby harp seals. Once I saw my name in print, I knew I couldn’t give up on my dream. I practiced signing my autograph over and over because I was convinced that someday I would have my own book published.

Here’s what’s funny: Not only did I grow up to write books, but it turns out that as a writer, I also get to be a spy, a detective, a mad scientist, or anything else I can imagine.

studio and Mutzi
where relatives sleep when there are
Not Enough Beds

all grown up
When I grew up, I figured out that not only did people get to write books, they also got to make books. So I went to work in the publishing industry and spent sixteen years with several of the wonderful publishers located in the active Twin Cities book community.

Then my first picture book was finally published in 1999, by Carolrhoda Books. Not Enough Beds! tells the story of too many relatives and not enough beds on a crowded Christmas Eve. It was inspired by my family’s own holiday get-togethers, but until I started meeting my readers, I had no idea just how many people have actually slept in bathtubs.

I now work full-time as a freelance writer. That means I do a whole lot of things along with writing; I’m also a writing teacher, mentor, editor, speaker, and book marketing consultant. I enjoy helping kids learn to love writing as much as I always have, and my book You Can Write a Story shares the activities I’ve created during school visits. I’m excited that my middle grade mystery, Turn Left at the Cow, is now available in a paperback edition. I also enjoy researching and writing nonfiction books for children. My book Get Started in Writing for Children, a how-to guide for adult writers, shares much of what I’ve learned through all these different pursuits.

snow globe from Florida
alligators hold snowglobes in Florida

what I do for fun
Most of my vacations are unplanned road trips that lead to unexpected adventures: attending the Sturgis (South Dakota) motorcycle rally by mistake, surviving a bomb scare in Iowa, getting stuck in the middle of an alligator-infested Louisiana swamp. These experiences have added to my collection of book ideas, not to mention my collection of snow globes from around the world.

I also like listening to people’s stories—that’s where my best book ideas come from—along with swimming, photography, the first snowfall, ice cream, and the smell of old books.

My family can turn any occasion into lots of fun, especially if we can wear funny hats!

studio and Mutzi
my best book critics

My Texas grandpa called me “The Waco Kid” because I was born in Waco, Texas. But I spent most of my growing-up years in different small Minnesota towns because my dad worked for the state. Wherever else we happened to be living, there was always one place we most loved visiting: the family lake cabin on Green Lake, which originally belonged to my Minnesota grandparents, and where I grew up playing mud volleyball, water sports, and night games with my brothers and cousins and neighbors. The Lake is still one of my favorite places to visit, and I love teaching those same games to a new generation—my nephews and nieces, who are also my best book critics. When it’s too cold to be at The Lake, I make my home just outside of Minneapolis, where I very much enjoy being part of the vibrant Twin Cities book community.

Lisa Bullard
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