All About Me

I was born in New York City, where as a young girl I played in Gramercy Park. The mother of one of my friends was Emily Cheney Neville, an author who wrote a Newbery-Award-winning book, It’s Like This, Cat. She used to write stories about me and call them the tales of Terrifying Teragram (Teragram is Margaret, spelled backwards). One children’s book she wrote and published, The Seventeenth Street Gang, featured a tomboyish little girl named Minnow, who was based on me. Her books had a big impact on me—and I still cherish the copy of Where the Wild Things Are, which she had Maurice Sendak autograph to me and my sister the year it won the Caldecott Award.

When I was seven, I moved with my parents and sister to Portland, Oregon. We took the train all the way across the country and moved into a house in the suburbs, much different from our little apartment in New York. I loved growing up in Portland. I had a big backyard, and it was very green all year long. It never got too hot (so we didn’t need air-conditioners) or too cold (the camellia bushes bloomed in our front yard in the winter). Unlike some people, I never minded the rain. My mother was an artist, and she gave us lots of creative indoor projects to keep us busy. My family had several cats, but we had only one dog—a Chihuahua named Irving, whom my father described as “small of stature but great of character.”

In college I published a few poems, winning the Academy of American Poets, and after that I wrote a one-act comedy called Writer’s License that was performed in New York City, where I lived briefly. I also published a couple of short stories, one of which, “Looking Out,” was made into a final thesis film by a student at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. What an exciting experience it was to see that converted into a short film, beginning with the very large words “Based on a story by Margaret Park Bridges” splashed across the screen!

My husband, whom I met at Bowdoin College, and I lived and worked for a while in New York City and also Lafayette, Louisiana. Shortly after that, we moved to Massachusetts, and between jobs I wrote a Sherlock Holmes pastiche novel called My Dear Watson. It won an award in the 1992 Suntory International Mystery Fiction Competition and was published in Japanese (see the details in the article I wrote about that experience in the Mystery Writers of America newsletter, “The Third Degree”). But I had no luck trying to sell it in English! After a while, I just gave up on it and stopped submitting it anywhere. Twenty years later, I found MX Publishing online, submitted it, and was thrilled to finally see the story in print!

Alan and I moved to the Boston area in the mid-1980s, and we started a family. We had two wonderful daughters—whom I am more proud of than anything I’ve ever written. I never thought motherhood would be a career move, but as soon as I started reading books to my children at bedtime, I kept thinking either “I wish I’d written this!” or “I could write something better!” So I started writing picture book manuscripts, and I was very lucky; the first offer I received in just a few months, was from Morrow Jr. Books—for three stories at once!

I continued to write children’s books and have published seven in total. I have been very lucky to work with wonderful illustrators. I don’t actually work with them, however; the publishers do. I always look forward to seeing how my picture books will look, and I have never been disappointed!

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