Photo by David Sutton

I grew up in Southwest Michigan in a house full of books. My parents—especially my mom—read to me from an early age and didn’t stop until I left for college. I loved realistic fiction, fantasy, and science fiction the best.

When I was seven, I decided to become an author. My second grade teacher, Miss Kott, was a strong believer in creative writing and was always giving us assignments. I attempted my first novel the following summer, about a tomboy princess joining forces with elves and fairies to overthrow the evil king and queen. It was five pages long.

I continued writing as I grew up and double-majored in psychology and creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University. I followed this up with a library science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now work as a youth services librarian at a Chicago-area public library. And finally, twenty-five years after I finished my first “novel,” my agent, Steven Chudney, sold Starting from Here to Marshall Cavendish.

When I’m not writing or working at the library, you can usually find me messing around on the piano or guitar, riding my bike, baking, or playing fetch at the beach with my dog, Saffy.

Some books I’ve read again and again:

  • The Prydain Chronicles, by Lloyd Alexander
  • Dangerous Angels, by Francesca Lia Block
  • Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury
  • A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The House of Thirty Cats, by Mary Calhoun
  • The Dark Is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Danny, Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl
  • Maurice, by E. M. Forster
  • Annie on My Mind, by Nancy Garden
  • The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  • The House of Dies Drear and The Mystery of Drear House, by Virginia Hamilton
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
  • The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie, by George MacDonald
  • The Hero and the Crown and The Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley
  • The Chosen and The Promise, by Chaim Potok
  • Tiffany Aching series, by Terry Pratchett
  • The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien