I’ve been a professional writer for more than 20 years, and I’ve been writing children’s books since about 2009.
I live in the Atlanta area with my husband, two children, and cute-but-needy Shih Tzu.
Here are some things people ask me:
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
No. When people asked little-kid me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I don’t think I ever said writer. I remember having planned to be, at one time or another, a veterinarian, attorney, architect, sportscaster, or television producer.
Even though I never imagined becoming an author, I always loved words. As a little girl, I was an eager reader. At 14, I asked my parents if they would get me the new, hardback Roget’s Thesaurus I had seen at the local bookstore. (They did. I was elated when I unwrapped it.) And at 17, I started a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine. I still use the advice I read in those articles decades ago.
Q: Where do you get ideas for your stories?
My story ideas come from everywhere. I got the inspiration for More-igami from my own children. One novel I wrote (not published) began as a writing exercise I did at a writers’ conference. The novel I’m writing now was inspired by a letter I read in the “Dear Abby” advice column in the newspaper. If I pay attention to the world around me and give my imagination room to run, I find stories and characters all around me.
Q: What are some of your favorite books?
When I was a child, my favorite books — the ones I read over and over — were: just about anything by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary’s teen love stories, a biography of Helen Keller, and The Hero from Otherwhere by Jay Williams.
Some of my favorite titles from recent years are Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt; Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo; Grandaddy and Janetta, by Helen V. Griffith; and everything by Tony Earley, although Jim the Boy is still my favorite of his books — so far.
Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I think it’s so important for writers, and artists of all kinds, to take breaks from their work and do other things to renew their creativity. One of my favorite things is learning and performing improv comedy. Doing improv is kind of like writing a funny story on the spur of the moment. I’ve also enjoyed photography since I was a teenager. Here are a few photographs I took.
Q: How tall are you?
When I stand up straight, I’m 4’ 9”, or about the size of an average fifth-grader. This can make visits to middle schools somewhat awkward.
Need more information? Try my official bio.