I write contemporary middle grade stories sprinkled with wonder, hope, and often a bit of magic.
Why I write…
I read a lot when I was little, and dreamed, and spent a giant chunk of my time in my head, making things up. I studied English in college, then got a Master’s in Writing and Publishing. I always wanted to write down the ideas, images and characters I’d imagined. I dreamed of doing that. I talked about writing. I didn’t do it, though. Not regularly.
Then I started writing, and I kept writing every day, and it feels great.
What I’m writing now…
Manhattan Has No Stars
Twelve-year-old Strella knows stars. Raised at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, stars are like sisters to Strella, and astronomy is her destiny. But when Mama mysteriously loses her dream job at the observatory and moves them to the starless skies of Manhattan to live with a grandpa she’s never met, Strella decides it’s up to her to fix things.
The Secret Life of Stuckie
Stuckie has a day-dream problem. Anyway, that’s what Mom and Dad, Mrs. Pine, and half the Star Valley sixth grade thinks. To him, his day dreams whisk him away to the only place where he’s the hero and completely in control. As long as he has Penny and Gram, though, Stuckie could go on dreaming forever. But when Penny gives his day dreaming a Beth Firenze eye-roll on the walk home from school and ditches him and the Invention Convention for volleyball, Stuckie has to find some real world courage to get her back. His day dreams aren’t an easy habit to break, though, and for the first time ever, his day dreams are out of his control.
What I like to read…
My favorite books make me feel along with the characters – joy, loss, fear, hope – I like to feel it all. I love when I am whisked into another world, whether it is based firmly in the reality of our world, or in the odd quirky reality of the author’s imagination. I love to meet eccentric characters, to spend time with funny characters, and to have my heart broken by lonely characters. I enjoy learning something that I didn’t know, about science, or the world, or people.
Some of my favorites for kids:
- Jennifer Richard Jacobson’s Small as an Elephant
- Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy
- Ibi Zoboi’s My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
- Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting by Sevens
- Louis Sachar’s Holes
- Kate diCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant, Because of Winn Dixie, and Louisiana’s Way Home
- Kheryn Callender’s Hurricane Girl
- Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book
- Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me
- Nicholas Gannon’s The Doldrums
- Laurel Snyder’s Seven Stories Up
Some of my all-around favorites:
- Richard Powers’ The Overstory
- Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus
- Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and his short story Click Clack the Rattle Bag, particularly when he reads it aloud
- Charles Dickens for his peculiar characters and themes of redemption. I particularly like A Tale of two Cities for the heart-ripping sacrifice of Sydney Carton, and A Christmas Carol, especially the Muppet version 🙂
- Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time for how it opened my imagination
What I like to watch…
- I love Dr. Who for its wit, wonder, heart, and bow ties.
- I love Alfred Hitchcock’s surprising but inevitable endings.
- When I was young, a long time ago, I stayed up late into the night watching episodes of The Twilight Zone, Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and Ray Bradbury’s Theater. I still love the twists and the feeling that anything can happen.
- I love Studio Ghibli films, like Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro for their imagination, their heart, and their strong heroines.
What blows my mind…
Black holes and dark matter and the science behind how plants communicate with each other and with us. Also I am stymied by a magic trick that my daughters do with a little box that holds a little cube painted with a different color and design on each side. I can’t figure it out. It’s been years. I’m not giving up, though. Don’t tell me if you know. I want to figure it out on my own.
What makes me laugh…
Lots of things make me laugh; goofy faces, silly voices, dumb jokes, the Ha-Ha game. When I really get going, I have a wild laugh. It can startle.
What makes me cry…
A lonely child. I’d like to write stories that travel all over the world, and across time if possible, just to tell each lonely child that they’re not alone, and they’re amazing.
Me as a Kid…
Goofy, grumpy, happy
Have a question or a comment? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.