I was born and raised in the Chicago area. I was not a nose-in-the-book sort of kid, like many authors. Rather, I could be found climbing trees or building forts, or making something with my hands. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy reading, it’s just that it was hard to squeeze it in with all the other things I wanted to do in a day. My mother was an artist – lucky me! – who taught me all kinds of wonderful ways to make art and to live a creative life.
She also took me to the Art Institute of Chicago frequently, which is where I fell in love with the Thorne Miniature Rooms. Many years later, after I’d studied art in college, began raising my family, co-founded a middle school for girls, and became an art teacher, the Rooms still captured my imagination. In fact, they turned me into a writer when I could no longer ignore the stories they planted in my head.
I wanted to create the kinds of books I would have loved when I was young, the kind of books that would have made me stop what I was doing, the kind of books I couldn’t put down. I had to work hard to learn how to turn these stories that lived in my head into books that young readers would enjoy. But that was half the fun of it – learning a new way to be creative!
I live in Philadelphia now (which is filled with historic places and amazing museums of all kinds!). My husband and I travel a lot to see our kids who are all grown up. I still love to paint and draw (and knit and sew and make up recipes!) when I’m not writing stories.
1) I seem to be a dowser.
2) I have the genetic trait that makes cilantro taste like dish soap.
3) I was an extra in Divergent. I’m on the screen for literally 6 seconds.
4) I speak French (pretty well) and lived in France for a year.
5) I played Maria in the Sound of Music in 6th grade.
6) I’ve started two alternatives schools.
7) I have three red headed children.
8) I de-magnetize New York City subway tickets (may be related to #1).
9) My favorite cuisine is Italian (although I love French pastries!).
10) Dog person.