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Josephine Heltemes is the pen name used by Mary Trost on her series of children's books. Mary's inspiration for her stories comes from many years spent working with elementary students and her own rambunctious childhood as a middle-child in a family of eight children. She likens her method of story writing to home cooking: you open your mind, throw in a couple of ideas, put the concoction on the back-burner and wait for a story to form. Of course, disasters fit only for the trash are inevitable, but occasionally you get a tale worthy of sharing with friends. Mary lives in Vancouver, Washington. When she's not at the computer writing, she enjoys gardening, painting, bird watching and travel.