The Story of Me

I love lists because they help me organize my thoughts and I think they are fun to read, so here is the story of me told entirely in lists:

Where I Grew Up (a short list):

  • I lived in the small town of Red Hook, New York with my parents, my little sister Sam, and our cat Louie
  • We had a beautiful yard with lots of chipmunk neighbors
  • I loved the country but always wanted to move to the city

Things I Loved When I Was Eleven:

  • Playing with Louie, who liked to hunt snakes
  • Writing dramatic stories with my best friend, Lani
  • Baking and eating cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip were my top choice)
  • Reading books, especially my favorite, FIFTEEN by Beverly Cleary
Me with Louie

Me with Louie

Jobs I Had Before I Became a Writer:

  • Builder of houses for Habitat for Humanity in Americus, Georgia where I got good at hammering shingles
  • Waitress at a pizza place in Boston, Massachusetts where I ate way too much pizza
  • English teacher in Changsha, China where I got to visit the Great Wall of China
  • Literacy Tutor in San Francisco, California where I got to teach people to read, the coolest job ever
  • High school history teacher in Los Angeles, California where I acted out historical events with my students

How I Became a Writer:

  • I realized I had stories to tell about tweens and teens
  • I went to The New School where I got a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing
  • I wrote a LOT and a lot of it was not very good
  • I listened carefully to critique from my fellow writers because I wanted to improve
  • I wrote more and more
  • I did not stop writing
  • I wrote my first book, a YA called Alive and Well in Prague, New York, which came out in 2008

about

How I Stay a Writer:

  • I still write a lot
  • I still listen to critique from writer friends because I still want to improve
  • I read and edit manuscripts for writer friends because thinking about how to make their stories better helps me make my stories better too
  • I do other kinds of writing, like short stories for American Girl Magazine
  • I teach writing classes at The New School and McDaniel College

Where I Live Now
(another short list):

  • I live in New York City in a small apartment with my two kids, my husband and our cat
  • We have a beautiful view of the city and lots of really nice human neighbors
  • I love it here and I don’t ever want to move 

But I do Love to Travel and Here are Some My Favorite Places that I’ve Been (so far):

  • The southwest, where I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and then back up (but not in the same day)
  • Spain, where I went to a really cool chocolate museum
  • Turkey, where I saw ancient Greek temples and drank fresh squeezed pomegranate juice every day
  • Mexico, where I climbed Mayan ruins
  • Cape Cod, my favorite place of all and here’s a picture of me on Herring Cove Beach (with coffee, which I also love)
At The Cape

At The Cape

Other Things That I Love Now (besides coffee and travel):

  • Playing with my cat Tango, who hunts his toy mouse because we live on the 10th floor so he can’t hunt snakes (though he’d probably like hunting them if he could)
  • Writing books and stories that have at least a little drama in them
  • Baking and eating cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip are still my top choice)
  • Reading books, especially FIFTEEN, which is still one of my favorites
  • Hearing from readers like you—check out my Contact page to find out how to get in touch

me and kitty

To learn more about me and my upcoming books, sign up for my newsletter which has monthly updates, interviews with my writer friends and more pictures of cats (and beaches and coffee sometimes too).