About Me

When I was five years old, I asked Santa for a house in Massachusetts. He finally came through six years ago and I moved to Cape Cod. For all of my travels these days, there is no place in the world I would rather be. When I am not traveling visiting kids in schools or speaking at conferences, I am home with my husband and writing on my beloved Cape. (I even have a Shark Conservatory license plate on my car in honor of one of my latest book characters — Ronan from Shouting at the Rain).

6th grade me with frameBeing the youngest of five children, I can fend for myself pretty well. I was a tom-boyish girl who loved skateboarding, climbing trees, playing baseball, and seeing everything there was to see on my bicycle. I must confess that one of those bicycles had a banana seat, was bright green, and had “Dill Pickle” written (complete with a picture!) on the chain guard; it was big enough to be read from a long distance away, too. Funny…I’d always wondered why no one ever tried to steal that bike…

After graduating from Conard High School in West Hartford, CT., I attended UConn and got two degrees in education. As a teacher, I really learned how much I loved writing for the fun of it. I mostly wrote stories that had structural errors so that I could give the kids red pens, tell them to give me an “F” if they wanted, but they better be able to explain why. Kids relished the opportunity to fail the teacher, so they dug deep. Oddly, it was a lot of fun.

When my daughter was born, I left teaching to be home with her. After her brother joined us and I realized that I was finding Sesame Street to be genuinely stimulating, I told my husband that I was joining a writers group at the local bookstore. I did and the rest is history! Well, maybe not quite yet… ;-

So, how about the writer’s journey? Did I want to be a writer since I could hold (and eat) a crayon?

Actually, I was not one of those kids that wrote stories constantly. However, there were things that happened in our family that made me take a step back and really look—or rather, see–things. And that seeing thing is a huge part of being a writer. Huge.

Although I never scribbled in journals, I’d write song lyrics about the things that bothered me. For example, my brother, Michael Eric, died shortly before his fourth birthday. I wrote songs about him for years–songs about when he was alive and songs speculating where he went after he died. I had always imagined him sitting on a cloud watching me. Still, a day does not go by when I don’t think of him. Anyway, I know that those songs were the first seeds of the books I write now; it was about emotional truth even then…

In writing songs, I think I learned early on (although I know I could not have labeled it) that it is through writing that you figure out the things around you, but really learn the ins and outs of yourself as well. I’ve often heard writers suggest that you “write what you know.” I think I tend to write what I’d like to know–things I long to understand but don’t. I’ve also realized lately, that in my writing anyway, there is always a wish underneath it all.

Copy of DSC_5911Some of my non-writer friends think I’m nuts for writing at all. Why would I do something so difficult when I don’t have to? Thing is, it makes me nuts not to write. The characters speak to me and getting their stories down is something that I just have to do. Imagine a sliver in your hand. Imagine ignoring it. You have to get it out don’t you? Well, that’s the way it is…