I was born on November 9, 1950, in Greenville, South Carolina.
I have one sister, Linda, who is three years older than me. We were typical sisters: sometimes we had fun playing together and sometimes we wanted to claw each other’s eyeballs out. We liked to play paper dolls together. Our favorites were the movie stars, like Dinah Shore. There were never any baby paper dolls, so we cut babies out of the Montgomery Ward catalog.
My dad was very funny. He loved dogs and car races and swimming. He could do cool magic tricks, like sticking a toothpick through his cheek. (Ouch! How did he do that?)
My mom was very good at sewing. She made great doll clothes. She could also make doll cradles out of oatmeal boxes. She always made chocolate pudding with colored sprinkles on top.
I was very independent. I rode my bike everywhere— sometimes pretty far away. I liked to explore places I’d never been before. I liked school. I liked playing board games and singing. I loved the woods and looking for salamanders. I loved to tap dance and read. I stayed outside almost all the time. I loved secret things, like secret hiding places and secret diaries with tiny keys.
I went to the University of South Carolina. I graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in English.
I became a hippie. I sold pots and pans. I opened a dancing school. I moved to California. I got lots of other jobs. I got married. I had a baby. I moved to New England and became a children’s book author. I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where I am now, writing children’s books.
I’ve always loved to write and I love children—so it seemed only natural to put the two together. I also read a lot when I was a child. Reading inspired me and made me think that maybe I could write a book, too.
Oh—and one more thing: never be afraid to write something that isn’t very good. Because, so what? You can always make it better. Just get your thoughts and ideas down first—then make it better later.
The author who inspires me the most is Cynthia Rylant. I love Missing May. I love Ms. Rylant’s distinctive voice and her stories about her heart’s home. I love Summer and Ob and Cletus and that little trailer up there in the mountains of West Virginia.
I love authors who write from their hearts—and I really love authors who make me cry.