I was born and raised in New York but lived in many places, including Europe and Asia. I have two daughters and three grandchildren, who give me lots of practice to make up stories. I had her first book published in Japan, but the ideas for my musical children’s books began while living in Vienna, Austria. The city and its beautiful music were an inspiration. I called on Ann Viola Seddon, my friend from my Tokyo days, to work with me. I has been involved in creative work all her life as a painter, an art director, and a graphic artist. Watercolor painting and photography are my hobbies. I lives in Southampton, New York, with my husband, where I have taught ESL and continue to create children’s books.
Not everyone gets a chance to go to a live theater but it’s possible to imagine going to a performance. I tried to write the ballet theater books so that children could get lost in a world of music and make-believe, where they would be active players in the miniature theaters. I love watching children playing with these books and using their imaginations just as I did when I was a child. I used to spend hours creating little books and plays and shadow boxes with cutouts, drawings, and paint. I guess I still do.
I wanted to introduce children to beautiful classical music and the stories of ballets. When I write these stories, I listen to the music that will accompany them. I have to pace the story with the music and be sure to give readers enough time to set up the stage and dancers as the tale unfolds. Since there’s a CD with the book, I have to select one minute or so of a musical piece that really describes the action. It’s difficult because I want to choose all of it but there’s no room for everything on the CD or on the page in the book. When I hear the music again, on the radio or in the car, I remember the exact part of the story and I get a picture in my head of the dancers and the sets. I hope the same thing happens for children who play with the book. My friend and partner, Ann Viola Seddon, the illustrator of our books, lives in London, so we work together by e-mailing notes, drawings, and photos. We usually meet once a year and work for two weeks putting everything together. We set up easels and drape them with the fabrics and dolls that will be photographed for the front cover and inside panels. Then we bring everything to London, where they are photographed.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I’m double jointed. I can touch the tip of my elbows together behind my back.
2. I can count in six languages.
3. I hate butter.