about me

I grew up in Wisconsin in a house right next to the woods.  My mother said this was a good thing––kids need a place to go and cry. But she was wrong. Oh sure, she often saw me running toward the trees with a troubled face. No matter how miserable I was, I never cried in the woods. As soon as I walked past the wildflowers or listened to the wind rustling the leaves, I felt peace. Being in nature put my problems in perspective. I reconnected to the world. No wonder I wrote my first novel about a girl who finds herself by getting lost in the woods.

photo by Keith Weber

My mom taught me to love books. Her mother was a novelist. My dad taught me the joy of fixing things. Our house was full of his creative solutions to everyday problems. I read constantly, but I didn’t believe I could be a writer until I was an adult.

Writing my first novel, Nature Girl, was similar to my character’s journey. Like Megan, I’ve been scared (that I wasn’t good enough) and lonely (because everyone has to write all by herself). I’ve even been hungry (if I told myself I couldn’t have lunch until I fixed that paragraph).

No matter how difficult it was or how long it took, I always kept writing. Of course it helps that I enjoy all parts of the process. Planning the story, living in each character, solving the puzzle of rewriting––and exchanging ideas with my readers.

Whenever I write, I learn. I enjoy writing non-fiction books for kids, but I also do research for my novels. I wanted my African grey parrot, Zeno, to be realistic––even the parts of him that aren’t so agreeable. Fiction isn’t just about feelings; it’s about what people do and think and the world they live in.

My great grandmother painted this picture of my grandmother, Katharine Carson. As you see, she loved books too.

Now I live in Brooklyn, New York, in the neighborhood where Zeno flew in Alya’s window and that Hannah and Anna hated to leave. I’m lucky that both my husband and my daughter are excellent critics of whatever I write. It’s so important to get feedback. If only Blackberry the cat could be so helpful.

Yes, Blackberry. This is my book about a cat. The Book of Dares for Lost Friends will be out in July 2015!

Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge