Describe yourself in 20 words or less!
A sentimental, heart wide-open writer, adventurer, ponderer, rebel, loner, wanderer, dreamer, and believer in the impossible. (Phew, that’s a lot!)
Why do you like to write?
When I write, I return to the magical worlds of my youth, where monsters and faeries roam the land. Through my stories I can become these characters, and wield their powers. My mother even made me a prairie dress outfit to pretend I was Laura Ingalls. When we owned a campground we had hogs and chickens that I got to feed just like Laura!
Did you have a job before becoming an author?
Yes–many! I had some fun (and not so fun) jobs including: smoothie bar attendant, newspaper deliverer, door-to-door salesperson, nanny, news reporter, law book assembler, pet store assistant. I was also a U.S. Navy photographer in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where I worked in a building with no windows for Fleet Intelligence Pacific. I hand-developed aerial film of hidden enemy locations around the world and took command ceremony photos. When they brought in the Top Secret work those of us with only “Secret Clearance” had to hide in the closet so we wouldn’t see it. True!
Where do you like to write?
I move around throughout the day. I love to write in my patio lounger and on the couch by the fire with my kitties on cold days. But I especially love my office because so many pieces are my mom’s, who passed away. There is the desk she found at an antique store and refinished. The secretary she used to write letters on. The saddle ornament from Cornwall we got when we lived in England. The old sewing machine that was her mother’s. The washstand that stood in our hall when I was growing up with a washing bowl and pitcher on it. The antique chair. And the framed photos of her Uncle Elmer who through-hiked the Appalachian Trail at 66, and whose story inspired me to feature the AT in my newest middle grade novel.
Did you read much as a kid?
Yes! Some of my favorite books I like to re-read today are The Hobbit, Little House in the Big Woods, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, and White Fang.
Today some of my new favorite books are Wonder, The Ranger’s Apprentice series, The Sky is Everywhere, The Life of Pi, Lottery, and The Fault in Our Stars. Here’s my son reading my copy of Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, a favorite author of mine as a kid. The Tooth Fairy brought his books.
What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
I grew up an only child on a mountain with only nature as a playground, so my special time was spent roaming the woods with my notebook and pen. I wrote in secret fields and beside hidden ponds, and always with my two, frumpy dogs. The woods were my home and I loved to climb trees and sing from them. I’m a country girl at heart. My favorite room with a view is still one strewn with fields, rock walls, and looming mountains.
Here’s a place I used to daydream at in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains where I grew up.
And here is a painting I did on slate of my old homestead.