As a child, I loved to read books. I read all day, everywhere. As a teenager, I loved the making of stories. I was editor of my high school newspaper and literary magazine, and my first job was reveling in (and selling) kid’s books at Once Upon a Time Books and Toys in Rochester, NY. In my 20s, passionate about writing for children, I joined SCBWI, attended conferences, and was in a fabulous critique group with two other women. But by age 29, racking up rejections on one precious manuscript, I turned my attention to teaching fitness classes, working on organizational culture, and having children instead.
Here’s me holding a baby chick, trying to think of a story idea, and being
attacked lovingly cuddled by my children.
The thing is, creative passions bubble up and come out one way or another. I drew, painted, designed fitness classes and beautiful cultures, but I still had children’s books to write.
At age 41, I camped alone in the Green Mountains with my children, wrote pages and pages about it, and realized I needed to stop this business of not writing. I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge that winter, participated in Storystorm, found a new fabulous critique group, fell in love with a bunch of new characters that came right from my heart and made me laugh, and kept going.
I now have multiple submission-ready manuscripts, including fiction and nonfiction picture books, a chapter book, an early reader and a novel. I think I’m just going to have to keep writing, no matter what.
I live next to a river, near an ocean and close to a city.
I live in a gray house. Animals also live in my house. Oh, and my family. Did I mention animals?
There’s a 7-foot boa constrictor, four different kinds of chickens including one that lays GREEN EGGS, a flame-colored crested gecko, many species of frogs including the most poisonous kind on Earth (Terribilis), and a sweet, crazy young cat who actually bounces off walls.
Some things I love:
- Watching clouds move fast overhead on a blue-sky day
- Riding my bike around empty parking lots
- Drawing in pencil, especially everyday things like sinks and stuffies
- Listening to stories, thinking of stories, and also reading stories
- Eating chocolate
Here are organizations I support:
I go batty for badges in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. Every month since 2018, I’ve written a new manuscript and edited an old one. 24 badges a year! That’s a lot of witches and groundhogs and robots and bubbles. You know? A LOT.
(And other characters too!)
We Need Diverse Books
By day, I help companies and schools become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive by creating cultures in which people of color and women are leaders. By night, I am a member of Families Organizing for Racial Justice. All the time, I fight for more perspectives and diverse voices. Especially in books for kids!
The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators is a group of people who love creating stories for kids. I’ve been a member over the past twenty years…with a fifteen-year break in the middle. 🙂