I was the kid in the library, always with books that took me to faraway places, real or fictional. I loved the Moomin books by Tove Jansson, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and British books set in mysterious old houses in Cornwall and Scotland involving magic and lore. I always wanted to see the world and become a writer, and after I graduated from college with a degree in English and Creative Writing, I set out to do both. I taught English as a second language in South Korea and Italy and traveled around Europe, Asia, and Africa. Once I finally settled down, I realized that all the interesting people I’d met and places I’d visited had given me something to write about!
I’m curious about almost everything, and when I want to know more, I research. I write a lot of nonfiction, but in the case of my novel, I used the facts and narratives I read about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath to create a story that I hope gets to the emotions of this real-life event. Before I wrote Between Two Skies, I wrote a middle-grade novel with two narrators, one in Renaissance Italy and one in modern times. I loved researching about what life was like in a Florentine artist’s studio in the 1500s: writing can be a form of time travel, too!
Before I write, I tend to read a lot. I call it filling the (creative) tank. Then characters, scenes, and dialogue develop for me. Plot is the very last and hardest thing for me. That’s why it’s great to have writer friends who can read and give feedback about my work!
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Me
If I weren’t a writer, I’d probably be doing something related to international travel and languages. I speak some Italian, but I’d love to speak it fluently, as well as French and Spanish.
I love the outdoors and love to hike and explore nature. My family collects interesting things we find in nature—even birds’ nests!
Although I am not a visual artist myself, I’m an art lover and visit museums and art galleries whenever I can. But I love science, too. Like I said, I’m curious about everything. One of my favorite quotes, from Eleanor Roosevelt, is,“I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”