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Cover art by S.D. Schindler

The Elf's Rules for Union Square:
No children
No dogs
No food

Hiram the Elf has had it with happy people. They're taking over Union Square Park -- his park! Hiram has a plan to spoil the fun. And it involves lots of nasty tricks -- people stepping in dog poop, and accidents in the playground. But 10-year-old Jack and his reporter friend Will are on the case. Can they find out who's behind all the trouble in the park?


When my husband first read this book, he said, "This is great! You wrote a book about our lives!" What? This wasn't about our lives. It was a fantasy. About an elf. But then he explained, "It has all the things we see all the time in the neighborhood -- the Greenmarket, the playground. And all the things we do, like when we made a lemonade stand."

That made me realize: writing can be like assembling a patchwork quilt. Even when the events in the plot are fictional, an author takes snippets of this and that and stitches them into a whole.

I first got the idea for the book when my son was young. We used to read a book called The Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies. Though my son loved that book, one night he looked sad. "Why did all the elves live long ago?" he asked. "And why do they always live in faraway places like Ireland? Why can't they live here?" So then and there I made up a story about an elf who lived in NYC's Union Square. I thought it might be fun to make the elf nasty, create a character who would do mean things I would never think of doing myself. When my son fell asleep, I jotted down the ideas in my writer's notebook. And the next day I started work on them.

Beware! Beware! The Elf of Union Square!

The author at the Union Square subway station. Hey, isn't that where the elf lives?