I was born and raised outside Cleveland, OH, where I spent my childhood making up stories with my sister and reading books while pretending to practice the piano. I dreamed of becoming the next James Herriot until I realized I didn’t want to become a veterinarian as much as I wanted to be a writer.
Growing up, my parents filled our lives with activities that sparked our curiosity about the world. I loved baking bread and making maple syrup with my dad, and every spring break my mom planned trips to nearby museums, where we climbed on a model dinosaur and visited our favorite Egyptian art collection. And I was constantly reading and listening to books on tape. My sister and I listened to Beverly Cleary’s Ramona stories so much that we can quote them from memory, and we still trade dramatized Agatha Christie mysteries back and forth. Later I fell in love with books about strong girls discovering their place in the world, like Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series, Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books, and anything by Lucy Maud Montgomery (although I was always more of an Emily of New Moon kind of girl).
My family spent summers on an island in Pointe au Baril, Ontario, where the lack of television meant we made our own entertainment. We sang folk songs, picked blueberries, and swam until the sun went down. We still go every summer, and it’s one of my favorite places on earth.
Gradually I got serious about my two passions, history and writing. I majored in history at Yale University and interned at a living history museum, where I dressed up in nineteenth-century garb and cooked over a hearth fire. I also took a few creative writing courses and worked as an editorial assistant at the Yale Review, a literary quarterly. After graduation I spent a year in New York City working at a children’s literary agency, where I learned how to edit manuscripts, how to redline a contract, and just how important it is to follow query guidelines. But I missed history too much (and I’m not cut out for New York life), so I went back to school, this time to Brown University for my master’s degree in teaching social studies.
Now I teach middle school history in Providence, RI, and write young adult novels. When I’m not working, I love to take walks with my husband and baby daughter, bake far too many scones, and watch British mysteries and period dramas.
I’m a member of SCBWI and the Historical Novel Society, and I’m represented by Laura Crockett of TriadaUS Literary Agency.
Three Fun Things
- I’ve played piano, organ, flute, and the bagpipes.
- I used to cook from historical recipes and blog about them (if you dig through my blog archives, you can find the old posts). My favorite was a 1903 recipe for Berliner Pfannkuchen (basically jelly doughnuts).
- My favorite Sherlock is Clive Merrison (BBC radio version). Not Benedict? I’m shocked, too.