The Early Years
I learned to entertain myself early, being an only child in a family that moved a lot. I attended 6 schools in 8 years, spanning 3 states and 5 cities. And that doesn't even count the umpteen cities we lived in before I started school. I was shy and insecure, but I always managed to make a few friends along the way.
My pet bird, who I strategically named Bird
My froggie friend, who also happens to show up in several of my stories.
Okay, so I wasn't crazy about making friends with ponies.
The Reluctant Reader
Because my family was so mobile, I didn’t attend Kindergarten and since I had a late birthday, I started first grade at 5 years old. Right off the bat, I struggled with reading, writing and spelling. I continued to be a reluctant reader all the way through high school. As a young child, there was one thing I loved about books: the pictures. Picture books had a way of showing me the words that I couldn’t read.
My First Book!
When I was about eight years old, I wrote my first book. I found an old torn-up picture book with illustrations and no words. I wrote words at the bottom of every page and viola! My first published picture book. Of course, we don’t have to tell Mr. Mercer Mayer that I took his story, claiming it as my own. Let’s just keep that part to ourselves, shall we?
Writing for Children: The Inspiration
Reading for my own children was the seed that would soon grow into my love for writing for children. I started writing my stories down in 2008. My first few projects were chapter books and early readers. Then one day it happened. I wrote a picture book manuscript. Once I wrote it, I knew I was on to something.
The Path to Publication
I quickly started networking and meeting other writers. I joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I purchased my Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market by Alice Pope. I attended workshops and conferences. And best of all, I read, read, read every picture book I could get my hands on.
I recently decided to enter one of my stories into two contests and I ended up winning, two-for-two. I won my local SCBWI-LA Writer’s Day writing contest in the nonfiction category and also won the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Runner-Up Grant.
And so the journey continues. I keep writing. I keep studying. I keep submitting. I keep walking through open doors. And of course, I keep dreaming, hoping, and learning all along the way.