• Biography

    Thanks for stopping by!

    I write poetry, short stories, picture books, novels, and nonfiction for young readers.

    I have always loved to read, but I had no idea I was going to be a writer when I grew up. When I was in 7th grade, the middle school librarian told me she had nothing left for me to read. “You have read the library out,” she said, and I suppose it was true.

    As much as I loved to read, I liked art class best. But in college, I filled my schedule with literature classes. I took a creative writing class and wrote short stories and poetry for the first time. I interned as a journalist at a local newspaper. These experiences fueled a desire to write my own stories some day.

    Within days of my college graduation, I was offered a job teaching eighth-grade English, and I accepted. I never thought I’d stay, but I did. For the next eighteen years, I taught eighth grade.

    My students wrote poems, stories, and essays. They researched, wrote, and illustrated their own nonfiction picture books. They held poetry readings.

    It felt good to see my students grow as writers. They inspired me to practice what I preached. I joined a writer’s group and got serious about my own writing. I credit my students with helping me find my voice and my audience — and lighting a passionate desire that would lead me to writing books for young readers.

    By 1997, I had published short stories, picture books, and my first nonfiction book. I had a novel and another nonfiction book under contract. The time had come for a difficult decision: either teach full-time or write full-time.

    I already had one career that I loved — teaching. Was it time for another? Could I make it as a full-time writer?

    “Leap and the net will appear,” a friend told me.

    And I did.

    And it did.

    Click here for my cv.

    Follow the link(s) below to learn about the programs in which I teach:

    www.spalding.edu/mfa

    (If you’re curious about that small building in the top photograph, it’s my backyard snuggery, an 8×12 office that my husband, Joe, built for me, partly from recycled cedar boards and other reclaimed materials.)