I was born on May 27th in Chevy Chase, Maryland. I spent my childhood in Maryland, Florida, and Indiana. I'd like to say that's where I grew up, but too many people tell me that I've never grown up at all. I now live in Northern Virginia with my husband, three daughters, a dog, two rats, a horse, and quite a few squirrels and chipmunks in the backyard.
I like to try new things. I have:
- Flown in a hot-air balloon
- Worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta
- Taught reading to inmates in a maximum-security prison
- Lived in a dung-hut with Samburu warriors in Kenya
- Fallen out of a kayak into a swarm of jellyfish
- Baked a gingerbread house in the shape of the White House
- Run the original 26.2-mile course from Marathon to Athens, Greece
- Saved a lost kitten trapped in a storm grate
- Created a successful soufflé (and many failed ones)
- Thought about sky-diving (and then remembered I am afraid of heights)
I started writing stories in elementary school. In college, I studied journalism and later worked as a writer and editor at various newspapers and magazines. I also wrote more than 30 non-fiction books for grown-ups.
But what I really wanted to do was write fiction for children. Frankly, I found it really hard to make up good stories. I went back to school and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. It’s still really hard to make up good stories. But I love it!