I have vivid memories of my childhood. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts. My big brother was already 8 years old when I entered the family, so I was the "baby" and got lots of attention.
When I was in third grade, my family moved to Brookline, Massachusetts. I got to choose the exterior color of our new house. I chose pink. We had the only pink house in the neighborhood.
In school, I was the smallest kid in my classes. I made good grades, but sometimes my teachers complained because I was a chatterbox. I loved to read, but I wasn't very good at gym class.
At home, my favorite activity was playing with paper dolls. I had a shoebox full of them. When I found a cartoon figure or magazine photo that I liked, I clipped it out and added it to my collection. I made up relationships and problems for my paper dolls, dressed them, and moved them around in houses and cars and yards that were actually throw rugs and bedspreads. I made up voices for my dolls so they could talk to each other.
I guess that paper dolls are still my favorite activity because a writer creates characters on paper. As I create stories, I move my characters around in places that I've imagined. I explore their relationships, give them problems to solve, and let them talk to each other. (I have always enjoyed bossing people around, so writing is the perfect job for me - if my characters don't do what I want them to do, I erase them!)
When I was a girl playing with my paper dolls, adults would compliment me for keeping quiet. Writing is also a quiet activity, but it’s fun for a chatterbox, like me. Why? Because I get to share my characters with thousands of young reader-friends.
I went to college at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. That's where I met my husband, Chester. We both went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Then we moved to Athens, Georgia, so Chester could teach in the Psychology Department at the University of Georgia. I taught, too - in public schools in Clarke and Oconee County, GA. We raised our two daughters in Georgia.
When I was in the classroom, what did I teach? I taught English, Creative Writing, and Drama to high school students. Then I taught Reading and English to middle school'ers enrolled in the gifted program. Later, I taught Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, Math, and Enrichment to gifted elementary school students. All together, I spent 13 years in the classroom, and I taught students in grades 3 through 12. Meanwhile, I began following my dream of becoming a book writer when another teacher (Lori Hammer) and I wrote stories for our collection, The Tree that Owns Itself, which was published by Peachtree Publishers in 1996.
I stopped teaching so I could spend all my time finishing my second book, Seaman, the Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark. I do return to school, sometimes, as a visiting children’s writer. (This is even more fun than regular teaching, because now I get to be the “special event.”) I also paint in watercolor and acrylic. To see samples of my art, visit my Paintings page.