I was born and raised outside of Philadelphia, where most of my family has resided for generations, but my favorite place in the world is historic Cape May, New Jersey, still one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! I spent a lot of time there in my family’s house in West Cape May writing my third novel, Willow. I like to think that the ghosts of my great grandparents who lived there were helping me write. During the school year, I’m an assistant professor and I teach children’s literature and creative writing in Brooklyn, New York. I also am a “Creative Coach” who helps people get in touch with and articulate their creativity.
Like many writers, I knew as a child that I wanted to “make books,” and I started writing picture books and poetry when I was six. I used to “study” kids in the neighborhood and make notes about them as “characters” (obviously I was a nerd). I also wanted to be a psychiatrist or a psychic (partially because I thought they were the same thing since they were spelled so much alike), so I knew that character study was important. Now I tell my writing students that knowing your characters is the only way to write a story that others can connect with. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m telling the story or if the characters aren’t somehow real people in my brain telling the story through me. Sounds creepy, but that’s how I know it’ll be a good book.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I’m a Type One Diabetic (that means my pancreas doesn’t work at all) and I have to give myself lots of insulin shots and check my blood sugar several times a day.
2. I had a toy poodle named Rambo from ages ten to twenty-seven, and although I never thought I could love another dog, I recently helped rescue a pit bull named Sheba from a kill shelter. I never thought I’d be a pit bull parent but she’s the sweetest (and silliest and snore-y-est) dog ever! Sheba’s so grateful that she gives hugs every morning!
3. Before I started writing and teaching full time I was a vintage clothing vendor and a vegan caterer.