Photo used with permission from Jaime Nack

Bio

The Abridged Version

I began writing stories as soon as I could hold a crayon. Today I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. DEVIN RHODES IS DEAD is my debut novel and the winner of the National Association of Elementary School Principals Children’s Book Award. I am also a four-time finalist for the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, offered by the journal, Hunger Mountain. I live in a suburb of New York City with my husband, two sons, a carnival goldfish named Cinnamon, and a love of chocolate. 

The Longer Version

Those who knew me in grade school may fondly (or not so fondly) recall my crayon and construction paper narratives.

My very first book was about a germ named Sneazle, who disliked being a germ because he didn’t like making people sick. My first series followed, a collection of stories about magical creatures called Fluffy Furs, who looked strikingly like my friend, Sneazle (Hey, I never said I was an illustrator.) 

I wrote my first novel in my 8th grade woodshop notebook (hence my lack of woodworking skills.) It was a supernatural mystery that gave me the tingles as I wrote it. I couldn’t wait to wake up each morning so I could write again. Quite simply, I was hooked. And I have been ever since…

I was a voracious reader as a child and still am as an adult. Some of my favorite childhood books were: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle, The Chronicles of Prydain series, by Lloyd Alexander, The Dark is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper, The Haunting, by Margaret Mahy, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien, The House With the Clock in its Walls, by John Bellairs, The Great Brain series, by John D. Fitzgerald, and The Little Leftover Witch, by Florence Laughlin. My very first fan letter was written to Florence Laughlin, after I finished reading The Little Leftover Witch. I swooned like a 1960’s-era teen Beatles fan, when I received her generous reply. 

I grew up on Long Island, New York, which while the home to many a strip mall, is also a lovely historic place. As a child, I visited the old homes, harbors and cemeteries and grew up with the sense that we are deeply connected to those who came before us. I often wondered about those people—What were they like? What did they think about? Dream about? Wish for? What kinds of adventures did they have, all in the course of a life lived? What kinds of stories disappeared without being told?

As a writer, I get to imagine the lives of my characters. I get to explore their thoughts and their dreams. And then I get to share them with my readers.