I’ve been putting books together since I was five, when they were just taped together pages of pictures I drew with the few words I could spell (or almost spell). My debut picture book, “Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse,” illustrated by Corinna Luyken, was published by Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers in August 2018. Like Adrian, I do not have a horse, but I did grow up on a dairy farm in Illinois with cows, chickens, cats and dogs, and the occasional pig or duck.
My next picture book, “Something Good,” also with Corinna Luyken, will be out September 2021 from Little, Brown, and my first middle-grade novel, “Rule of Threes” debuts in May 2021 from Chronicle Books.
Unlike many authors, I did not grow up in a book-filled home, but I wanted books so badly, that they became, and remain, some of my most treasured objects. My childhood home did have a set of encyclopedias, however, and I spent many rainy afternoons reading them. I was not ever taken to our public library, and my little school had only a makeshift library in a conference room, but today, libraries are among my very favorite places. I often write at a college library just down the street, and when I travel, I love to check out the library and indie bookstores of the towns I’m visiting.
In my former professional life, I worked in public relations, serving clients ranging from robot manufacturers to watershed districts. I can still crank out a press release in my sleep! As a teen, I had many jobs that I didn’t keep very long, including waitressing, telemarketing, cleaning dog cages, scooping ice-cream (free samples!), and working at a clothing store where I once spent the afternoon in the window pretending to be a mannequin. Through it all, I had a passion for story-telling, and I kept writing whatever idea came into my head in whatever form that idea wanted to take, publishing here and there, until one amazing day, when agent Steven Malk found my picture book manuscript in his email inbox, and everything changed.
I live in northeastern Ohio with my husband, children, a rescue dog named Turtle, and two formerly stray cats, one of which I found picking through the garbage at the little league baseball diamond. I have a great love of animals and a high degree of suspicion of people who don’t. I also love soft pajamas, a bed full of pillows, and a fresh stack of books, preferably combined. I adore coffee and chocolate, also, ideally, combined.
I am currently at work on my second middle-grade novel and more picture books. When I’m not writing or reading, I enjoy long hikes in the woods. I get some of my best ideas out there, and also in the shower, but a long hike is much more ecologically responsible than a long shower. You can read more about my books here or contact me here if you have a question.