I grew up at the base of the Sierra
Nevada Mountains. Lake
Tahoe was minutes away in one direction, and in another, the tumbleweeds
and sagebrush stubs went on for hundreds of miles. There were cows, rattlesnakes,
and black widow spiders, and an occasional mountain lion or black bear sighting
kept things interesting. My small town had its share of haunted buildings, and
there were trees to climb (which, for some reason, surprises a lot of people
who haven’t been to Nevada).
There was no better place in the world to be a kid.
Later on I moved to Reno and got my bachelor’s degree in education from the University
of Nevada, where I studied English
and biology because I couldn’t decide which was more interesting. I still can’t. I earned my MFA in creative
writing from National University in southern California.
I now live with my husband, son, and daughter just
outside of Reno, where I exist vicariously through libraries, Internet connections, and the Discovery
and History channels. Ghost Adventures, Ancient Aliens, and lately, Amish Mafia often keep me up way too late at night. I do not, however, gamble, which also surprises a lot of people who have never been to Nevada.
My favorite authors include Richard Peck, Neil Gaiman, and Mary Downing Hahn. When I was young I thought James and the Giant Peach was the single finest contribution ever made to literature. Favorite books I've read lately are Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage and Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath. And yes, I do read books for adults, too. Sometimes.
I don't just write books, although that's what I love best. I have also written for magazines and newspapers, worked as a copyeditor, taught adult writing classes, tutored college students in an online writing lab, and tossed pizzas (but that was a long time ago). I am an Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and this year I am a nonfiction writing mentor for Nevada SCBWI's Mentor Program.