People & Place

Sneed Collard III graduated with honors in marine biology from U.C. Berkeley and decided to bring science to the general public in an entertaining way. Sixty-five books and many articles later, he is happy with his decision. Earning a master’s degree in scientific instrumentation from U.C. Santa Barbara, he landed a job as a computer consultant and programmer for biologists, which introduced him to many scientists and provided a wealth of writing ideas. He wrote about subjects—from epiphytes to invasive species to tuatara—that no one had ever bothered to introduce to children.

His first book, Sea Snakes (Boyds Mills Press), was published in 1993. He moved to Montana in 1996 and has written biographies, alphabet books, and more than anything, focused on storytelling. He’s also ventured into fiction, with four award-winning young adult novels, Dog Sense, Flash Point, Double Eagle, and his newest book Cartwheel—A Sequel to Double Eagle. He has also created an imprint, Bucking Horse Books. Coming in 2014 is the “tween” mystery Dog 4491. Learn more at .


My inspiration for writing is all about... paying attention to the world. Almost every aspect of existence amazes me. All I have to do is look, and the ideas start pouring in.

Sneed Collard III is a name that… was awfully hard to take as a child. “Sneeze. Snot. Snidely Whiplash.” You get the idea. Fortunately, the name works well as an author.

Writing for children is like… nurturing and growing the best parts of myself. Children look at the world through fresh eyes, and writing for them helps me do that, too, whether I am writing an animal book such as Teeth, a mystery such as Hangman’s Gold, or a sports-history book such as The World’s Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale.

The most amazing creatures I have written about are… those that most people have never heard of. Think tropical animals, invertebrates, deep sea critters…

When I need some solitude, I… What is solitude? I think I used to understand that concept before I became a parent!

The one thing I am most passionate about is… being a dad.

My father always reminds me… that life is short, so I might as well go for it.

The last dream I had was about…. I can’t remember, but you can bet it was pretty weird!

Nobody knows that when I write… I take breaks to play BookWorm.

If I had it to do all over again. The one change I would make in my life would be… learning how to floss properly.

My last really good laugh was when… I heard my daughter belly laugh while watching Despicable Me.

The thing I am most sure about when it comes to kids’ reading is… that sharing a story with a child is magical.

When I’m in the mood to be social I… break out a game such as “Ten Days in Africa” to play with the kids.

If I was writing a story about my life I would title it… either “Planting Oak Trees” or “Attack of the Parasitic Flesh-Eating Worms,” whichever would sell better.

Junk food? My favorite is… chocolate, though I don’t really consider that junk food. As far as pure junk food, maybe Cheetos.

The one thing about myself I need to improve on is… Only one? If so, I’d say I need to have more patience with myself and continue to enjoy each moment more.

My favorite genre of reading is… mystery/thriller, followed by good narrative nonfiction. It’s no accident that I write mysteries such as The Governor’s Dog is Missing and Hangman’s Gold that take place in Montana.

If you ask me about science I will tell you… that if the public knew half of what scientists knew, we would be making vastly different decisions from the ones we make now.

I doubt that I will ever… buy a jet ski.

The three words I hope people use to describe me are… funny, awesome, & creative (courtesy of my 10-year-old son).


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