When I visit schools, children will often ask me, “Did you always want to be an author?”

I explain how I was a HISTORY major at university, because, although I did not remember all the dates and facts, I always remembered the STORIES of these long ago characters.

Indeed, one such character, Florence Nightingale, appealed to me so much, that I decided to become a children’s nurse–it was a brief and disastrous dalliance, because as much as I enjoyed working with children, I discovered it was too hard for me to see them when they were sick in bed.

However, years later, I feel that I am a kind of a nurse, because sometimes stories can soothe the hurt in our hearts as much as a shot of penicillin or a dose of medicine.