This is Cookie, our oldest cat at the moment, who considers me her personal property.
The one and only Fezziwig. She's a bit bigger now, but still cute, furry, and independent.
I was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, an industrial city 15 miles north of Boston, on the coast. With two older sisters and one older brother, I was the youngest of four. Because of the age difference between my siblings and me, I played a lot by myself, and became a voracious reader; in second grade I won the summer reading competition at our neighborhood branch library by reading over 200 picture books.
Dad was a Protestant and Mom was a Catholic, and I went to our local Catholic school. I think the sisters there fostered the love of words that I had inherited from my mother. I remember being fascinated by phonics worksheets and diagramming sentences (yeah, I was that kid). My seventh-grade teacher, Sister Theresa, was and still is a positive influence in my life.
In high school I was lucky enough to find another teacher, Mr. Hathaway, who encouraged my writing. He was the first person I remember who told me I could be a writer; before that, I hadn't given it any thought. I figured I would major in biology in college and spend my career cleaning test tubes; I had no idea how advanced degrees in science worked, how you got one, or even more important, how you financed one. But with his encouragement, I signed up to major in journalism in college, Northeastern University in Boston.
In college I found out a number of imporant things, as you should. First, I found out that all that sentence diagramming paid off when I tested out of grammar for journalists. I learned I wasn't going to be a very good reporter, because I was endlessly fascinated by how things worked but not by how much they cost (this is where I stop and apologize to all the editors who sent me back to sources to ask about budget impacts). I realized I wanted to write for children but, well, that's not a class I could take, so I had to learn it on my own (again, apologies to those editors upon whom I inflicted my early efforts).
Ever since graduation I've been lucky to work in publishing in one way another, mostly creating educational materials. I've also been fortunate to launch a career as a children's book writer—I say launch because I always feel that there's more to learn. It's a great job, and one I feel very fortunate to have.
I now live in coastal Maine with my husband, two daughters, and three cats. Oh, and a bunny named Fezziwig, who came to us via the amazing Cynthia Lord.
A diagrammed sentence, for those who have never seen one. Thanks to for the image. To learn more, also see the wonderful book Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burnes Florey
Some of my favorite things.
Like the song says, here are a few of my favorite things:
Movies! I am a huge movie buff, loving espcially Marvel superhero movies (thank you, Robert Downey Jr., for being the coolest Iron Man ever), animated films and The Princess Bride. When I found out that Donachada Daly, who illustrated A Raccoon's Tale, was a DreamWorks animator, I geeked out.
Yes, I watch TV, sometimes too much.
Mystery novels, especially cozies
Cats (makes sense, since I have three, although over the years I've owned as many as six at a time, and have had a total of 14 over the years)
Science! Yes, I love science and all the amazing things scientists learn about the world.
Things I hope to do.
This is not a bucket list. This is just a list of things I want to do. It's always good to have goals!
Own a goat
Own a flock of chickens (we live on a busy road, so I'm hesitant about getting any free-ranging critters)
Go to Australia and New Zealand
Illustrate my own picture book.