I grew up in the farm country of upstate New York, at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, outside a tiny town called Holland Patent. Our nearest neighbor was a half mile away, so my sisters and I pretty much entertained ourselves. There was lots of blackberry picking, pigs and chickens, cats and kittens, bikes, bees, homemade bread-and-butter pickles, sweet corn, and pure maple syrup. And lots of wood-stacking and lawn-mowing, too. And we had to do a whole lot of house-cleaning. My best friend was my sister Laurel, and she was also my best enemy sometimes! We spent our free time making tiny campfires in the driveway, singing loudly in the hay barn, and catching field mice. I still think of myself as a country girl in New York City, where I headed straight after college. Many years have passed and I’m still in love with the place—all these millions of people living together in relative peace—the sound and the stink and the beauty and the buildings—it’s where I feel most myself.
I came into writing later than many. I don’t know if any of you have ever been a little bit sad or hopeless, but several years ago I was. And that’s when my character Dessert Schneider came marching into my life and demanded that I write her story, in her voice. So I started, and all along the way, as I wrote page after page in my spiral-bound notebook, I began to feel happy and full of hope. That’s what writing did for me—it opened doors and brought in the light again.
I love writing picture books, and I always have someone important in mind as I write my stories. With Mitchell Goes Driving and Mitchell Goes Bowling, it was my son Marshall, and his dad, Michael.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I hate mayonnaise.
2. I can do a split.
3. I like going grocery shopping with my three kids.