Meet the Author
“Each time I start a new project, I try to raise the bar, make myself a better writer.”
I've been a storyteller all of my life. When I was little, my parents called me a ham. That's because I acted out my stories. In my defense, they weren't written down, so only I knew what was coming next. Acting them out was the only way to share.
Fortunately, I learned to write.
I ran with that talent. I wrote everything. Poetry. Short stories. A novella. Even a dissertation, which for those who have never written one, is a very very very long book.
I tried hard to make a good academic writer, but I missed the flair of fiction. One cannot, unfortunately, make up stuff when writing academic pieces. Gradually, I began to turn back to the writing that made time lose all meaning for me, poetry and fiction.
I experimented with different forms of writing, but it was children's stories that hooked me. As a children's writer, I get to create worlds as spongy and delicious as marshmallows, soar through green oceans with talking sharks, and float on misty air currents riding the backs of ancient dragons. It's an amazing place to live in. And it changes on a daily basis.
In that amazing world of "what if", I created three children's picture books, Squirt (Stonehorse 2005), Shelby, and Dizzy (Stonehorse 2007). They've all taken me on interesting adventures. Squirt was chosen as a selected reading for the International TV Turnoff Week, which launched me into a one year project helping to bring the program to schools in Oklahoma. Shelby, as a spokesshark for shy children everywhere, helped me win my first awards, Arizona Authors Literary Contest and Finalist in ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year. Dizzy took me on a whirlwind 10 city author tour in the summer of 2007, ending with me face to face with a real black bear in the Shenandoah Forests of Virginia! What a hair raising adventure that was. Yeesh. Check out my blog to learn more.
The best adventures, though, are school visits. Each audience is different. Some giggle and gasp and tickle my funny bone with their bubbling quesitons. Others challenge me to be a better writer by sharing their own ideas with me. All of them leave me with impressions that color my writing with youthful sparkle and shine.
Avi says you are only as good as your last book. That has become something of a measuring stick for me. Each time I start a new project, I try to raise the bar, make myself a better writer. After the picture book trio, I decided to take on the challenge of a novel. Dragon Wishes (Blooming Tree 2008) is my first success. It has been one of the hardest and most inspiring projects I've worked on - almost worse than a dissertation...but only almost. It has paved the way for my current project, a YA novel, Pelorus Jack.
Writing is the voice for my imagination. It makes sharing my fantastical worlds possible. And I don't have to act it out alone anymore!
For more information, view my official resume.