The oldest of three siblings, I was born in Southern California, near Disneyland. As a kid, I rode bikes with long banana seats, roller-skated, and strung sheets across the front porch, so my sister, brother, and I could perform theatrical shows for 5 cents a ticket.
I wasn’t a writer, but I did make up stories–usually to entertain myself on long car rides or at recess. I might never have written my stories down if it weren’t for a lizard named Bill.
Bill, a green anole, was my pet when I was in college. One spring day, as I held him on my outstretched palm to introduce him to my father, Bill took a giant leap and landed smack in the middle of my dad’s face! It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And it seemed like a good jumping off place for a children’s book. So, I wrote one.
During the next 27 years, I finished my degree in set design for theater, met my husband, got married, had a baby, homeschooled that baby, and wrote. I wrote short stories, essays, magazine articles (Some of them were even published.), and I penned a monthly column in the local newspaper called “People in My Neighborhood.” Every few years I would take out the lizard story, rewrite it, and send it off on submission. I collected the rejections in a shoe box.
Finally, when my baby was grown, I dusted off the lizard story, rewrote it (again), entered it in a contest, and won!
From then on, I was determined to become a published author. I wrote new stories. I joined a critique group. I took classes. I started a book club dedicated to reading picture books. I found mentors, teachers, and writing friends who cheered me on every step of the way. Finally, in 2016, I met my first agent and in 2018 she sold my first book. The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem was illustrated by Nancy Carpenter and came out on August 31, 2021. The following year, it received a Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor Award from the Association of Library Services to Children. An honor indeed!