I was born making up stories. When I was three, I used to sit underneath the kitchen table in my family’s apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and pretend my dolls and stuffed animals were lost in a forest made of chair and table legs. I also liked to to bring my little red-eared turtle into the bathroom, to be part of the pirate adventures I created in the sink.
Once I got to school, I couldn’t stop creating stories. In fourth grade, after my teacher gave a lesson on electricity, we were asked to write about what we’d learned. My classmates all wrote science reports about how electricity works. But I wrote a story about Mr. Electron and his friend, Sammy Atom. My teacher didn’t even get angry. She gave me an A+ and asked me to read it to the class. That’s when I decided to become a writer.
In college I studied literature, writing, and teaching. But I didn’t write my first book until my oldest daughter was in elementary school. I began reading the books she was getting from the library and I realized they were the kind of stories I wanted to write. My first book, The Rock Star, the Rooster, and Me, the Reporter, was based on my daughter’s fourth grade class. Her teacher had a farm and shared many of the fruits and veggies he grew there. He even wore his bee-keeping outfit to school. But the students never got to visit his farm–so I imagined it. I wrote about a class trip with lots of fun and lots of trouble. If you’ve ever been on a class trip you can probably write a good story about one, too.
Although I'd already published a few books, I wanted to learn more about the writing process. Luckily, I found the Master of Arts in Writing program at Manhattanville College. After I graduated, I stayed on to teach and discovered I really enjoyed working with aspiring writers. These days, I teach writing in the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program, where I spend each July working with high school students to develop their writing skills. (For more on this, visit chappaquasummerscholarship.com.)
I live in Westchester County, New York with my husband and a large friendly dog named Dudley. We have a busy birdfeeder in the backyard and a trampoline for our four book-loving grandsons. When I’m not writing, the things I like best are reading, taking long walks, cooking, hanging out with friends–and hearing from readers like you. You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.