Many writers say they made the decision to be a writer when they were very young. Not me. Being a writer would have meant sitting still too long. I guess I was what you might call an active child. I was the youngest of four kids. My mother taught me to paint and I always wanted to be an artist (although sometimes I wanted to be a scientist, too!). Some of my earliest memories are of being outdoors - usually up in trees, where I imagined myself in far away places! During winter months, I spent hours painting and drawing, making things, like furniture for my own version of the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which my mother had introduced me to at the Art Institute Museum in Chicago.
I went to college at the University of Illinois, where I majored in Art History and Studio Art. My first line of work after college was designing jewelry in New York City.
When I married and began raising my three children, I discovered so many of the great books for kids that I’d been too busy to read when I was young. I finally started to love reading and began to understand the freedom that writers must feel. I learned that writing – and reading – a story can take you into an imaginary world just as being way up in a tree takes you away from everyday life on the ground, and just as creating a dollhouse takes you into miniature imagined worlds.
When my oldest daughter entered middle school her best friend’s mother and I tried a little experiment; we wondered if we could start a school for girls, to make up for some of the deficits we saw in middle school education. Our little experiment worked and for the next decade I worked as the Art Teacher at Campus Middle School for Girls. I enjoyed working with this age group. It was then that I decided to write a book that my students might enjoy.
So now my kids have grown up and have begun their own lives. My husband Jonathan Fineberg and I live in Urbana, Illinois. It’s a really nice college town surrounded by rich farmland and beautiful prairie, which I am lucky enough to be able to gaze on out my window while I write.