I grew up in the greater St. Louis area. Mine was an idyllic childhood, full of family, friends and a menagerie of animals. My best friend, Mary Ann, and I rode our two horses almost every day, regardless of the weather. In the autumn, we stuffed our pockets with apples from the orchard, making sure to take enough for the horses, and headed off on a new adventure.
My father was an optometrist, as was my grandfather and several of my uncles. My mother was a homemaker. Both were pivotal in my love of words and stories. I lived in a house filled with books and ideas and freedom to explore them both.
I always loved school and the knowledge and fun that were there for the taking. It was a natural outcome, then, that I would choose teaching as a career. After having completed college and graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, I taught elementary school for a number of years.
My husband became a university president, and we lived several places, including lovely London for eight years. During that time, I was a consultant to several universities, including Cambridge. This was a wonderful life changing experience, and our three sons thrived and enjoyed living there as well.
I’ve been a university professor of education, specializing in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. It was then that my love of words and stories and all those valuable life experiences aligned. I began to write children’s books. I joined the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators and became an active member, attending writers’ workshops and conferences. My SCBWI chapter has been invaluable in my progress as a children’s author, and they remain a real strength in my professional life.
When my husband and I bought a home on Clearwater Beach, Florida, my life took on another dimension. With a home right on the gulf, the problem of beach litter and the plight of sea turtles became of paramount importance to me. I wrote the two picture books, Sea Turtle Summer and Bella Saves the Beach as a direct result of my new environment. My picture book, One Pelican at a Time, addresses the deep water Gulf spill on April 20, 2010.
My family and I are fortunate to have traveled around this wonderful world and back again, and we continue to do so regularly. It is both inspirational and invigorating, and I am forever amazed at how much more we humans are alike than different. I have a passion for English gardening after those years of living in leafy Hampstead, just a very short distance from central London. I indulge that passion every moment I can be in my garden, where inspiration and ideas bloom and flourish in concert with the flowers that call it home.
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