My dad was a respected small-town doctor, who dreamed of dancing like Fred Astaire and drove a motorcycle to his rounds in the dead of winter bundled in a huge parka. My mom urged us up narrow mountain roads and out to empty deserts in search of rare birds, and happily managed to read just about every book in the library while six kids, their friends, various dogs, cats, hamsters, ducks, chickens, even a giant pet rat, tumbled through life about her.
As my mother did, I like a bit of chaos and lots of time to think and dream in my life. One of my earliest dreams—to be a writer—came true. But before I published my first book, I went to college—twice. I have a degree in Psychology and a degree in English/Creative Writing. I’ve worked picking fruit, made ski goggles, was a waitress, store clerk, substitute teacher, hotel maid, typist, photographer, journalist, editor and corporate communications manager. Along the way, I met a wonderful man in the vitamin aisle of a grocery store, got married and had two wonderful children.
Stories Come From Life
In my time, I’ve been an artistic lizard, lazy ant, annoying robot and a little girl with a hungry crocodile on her hands. A little bit of me is in every book I write.
My newest books, the Mouse and Bear series, just popped into my head–just popping up is a bad habit of Mouse, it turns out. But there are exuberant Mouses and reluctant Bears all over my life and I bet yours, too.
The Magical Ms. Plum is the teacher I would have loved to have had in the third grade when I dreamed of having magical adventures.
Holbrook: A Lizard’s Tale, is the story of a lizard who longs to be an artist. But no one in his small home town appreciates him, so he travels to the big city to get discovered. As a kid who longed to be a great writer someday, there’s more than a little of Holbrook in me.
An Ant’s Day Off is about the first ant ever to take a day off-came to me one busy, hurried day when I just couldn’t seem to get enough done. I longed to just lie in the grass with nothing more to do than watch clouds passing by in the sky.
My Brother the Robot was inspired when my daughter nearly missed her race at a swim meet. She felt so bad, it got me thinking about what it would be like to do everything perfectly like, say, a robot.
The hungry crocodile in The Christmas Crocodile came from the hungry puppy that wriggled into my arms one Christmas morning. And the wacky family in the book? Well, I do have four sisters and one brother.
I now write full time and teach at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts—an MFA program in creative writing with a track in writing for children—where I get to help other writers bring their stories to life.