Where are you from?
I am from Malden, Massachusetts which is about seven miles north of Boston. I grew up there with my parents, who are both retired nurses, and my older brother and sister.
Where do you write your books?
I write in the sunniest part of my home, the sunroom. It looks out onto the woods and I can also see my husband James’ studio. Sometimes we wave to each other. Sometimes my kids confuse my office sunroom with their playroom/bedrooms and I occasionally need to clean out toys, snacks, clothing and projects before I can begin work.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I am not writing, I am usually reading. I read everything I can get my hands on including magazines, newspapers and every genre of literature. I also love getting together with friends, taking long walks, cooking, listening to National Public Radio, kayaking, playing board games (Taboo and Scrabble are my favorites) and listening to my Ipod while dancing around the kitchen.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I always knew that I wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t know that I wanted to be a chidren’s book writer. When I was young, I had hoped to be a journalist, writing investigative pieces for newspapers like the Boston Globe or the New York Times. and then I realized I was too shy to conduct interviews. When I graduated from college I worked as a copywriter for department stores.
What other jobs did you have before becoming a writer?
Before becoming a writer, I worked as a proofreader, a fashion copywriter, a substitute teacher, a publicist for my local library and a teacher in an infant/toddler program in New York City.
Where did you go to school?
I went to college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York (where I met my husband James). Later I received my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from New York University.
Why do you write biographies?
I write biographies because I am fascinated by the lives of others. I enjoy discovering how a person’s childhood impacts their adult lives. I especially love finding the most interesting parts of a person’s life, piecing them together and creating a new story for a new group of readers.
Do your kids like to write?
I have one child who loves writing and three who like writing. What they share is that they all love hearing a good story. Though my oldest in now in high school, she still lets me read to her. Like their Dad, they all love to draw. They could spend hours sitting together and drawing in their sketchbooks.
Do you visit schools?
I enjoy the opportunity to visit schools and meet readers and teachers. However, because travel can be challenging with four children at home, I do only limited visits to local schools or special conferences, alone or with my husband, James Ransome.