When I was in eighth grade, my teacher featured my creative writing piece in our holiday newsletter. Mrs. Quinn told my mother that I had a special talent for writing. She, however, gave me a gift in that very instance: she called me a writer. My tender years spent scribbling poetry and wordsmithing were now validated by a slender, big-haired blonde bombshell of a woman whom I adored and idolized. Her affirmation ignited the writer in me. And I have been writing ever since.
Since I loved writing and reading so much, I went on to earn a BA in English from Cortland College and an MA in Liberal Studies from Stony Brook University.
After receiving my master’s degree, my first child was born and my passion for creative writing was rekindled. Motivated by maternal love and countless cups of tea, I started to again write poems and short stories. After my second and third children were born, I began to draft a memoir that had long been unfolding on the note pad in my mind. But by the time my fourth child came along, I was surrounded by picture books in knee-high stacks throughout the house, and my adoration and appreciation for children’s literature had become a matter of course. I began seriously writing as a potential career about six years ago, inspired by life’s events and substance. Writing has always been an integral part of my personal and professional life, so the shift felt very organic and sequential.
In 2016, I was selected to fill one of the twelve coveted spots in the Children’s Literature Fellowship Program at Stony Brook Southampton under the direction of Emma Walton Hamilton. Having the good fortune of being mentored by notable authors and editors in the year-long curriculum, I graduated in 2017 with an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature. I continually collaborate with fellow writers and mentors in writing and critique groups and attend many webinars, workshops, and conferences; continually enhancing and developing the craft of writing is a lifelong goal.
I write picture books, short stories, and creative nonfiction. Being a mother to four children (and a menagerie of pets!) has undoubtedly shaped my picture book writing, as I aim to meet children where they are, finding that a little humor and grace can go a long way. Teaching writing-intensive courses as an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University has exposed me to a variety of international topics and writing styles, all positively influencing my own writing as well. Most of my hobbies circle around my love of nature and include photography, hiking, and cloud gazing. One of my favorite pastimes is taking road trips throughout the United States with my family. We pile everyone in to our twelve-year-old minivan which, by the grace of all that’s good, still keeps sputtering us along.