I’ve been making books 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.
Since that first book came out, I’ve published my debut middle-grade novel, “Rule of Threes” with Chronicle Books as well as two additional picture books (“Something Good,” illustrated by Corinna Luyken, and “The More You Give,” illustrated by Francesca Sanna). More picture books, and another middle-grade novel, are in the works!
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. Our little town did not have a public library, and my school had only a makeshift library in a conference room, but today, libraries are among my very favorite places. I sometimes 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. I’m pleased to report that two of my picture books were selected as Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections!
In my former professional life, I worked in public relations, serving clients ranging from robot manufacturers to watershed districts. 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 (we named her Rizzo, after a former Chicago Cubs player). We also recently added four chickens to the mix (Banjo, Burrito, Butternut and Bobby-Sue). 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.