Meet Katherine Applegate

Age: 56

Family: Husband and sometimes co-author Michael Grant, and two children, Jake, 15, and Julia, 13.

Favorite books as a child: “Dr. Dolittle” and “Charlotte’s Web.”

Pets: “We’re down to two now. One cat, Lightning McQueen, and one dog, Stan. Stan is a rescue chihuahua mix.
He was the role model for Bob the dog in ‘Ivan.’ The drawings in the book look precisely like Stan.”

Favorite pizza topping: Black olives, onions and anchovies.

Best Christmas present: “Gerbils. I think I was 9, and my mom ordered them for me from a catalogue. They bred like crazy, and I was selling gerbils all around Michigan. They wrote a story about me in the local newspaper.”