When I was growing up, our family Bible verse was Philippians 4:11: “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” It means we are supposed to be content in any situation we are in, but I always took it to mean geographical state. My dad was in the Army, so we moved around.
I was born in Washington state and lived on Vashon Island, Kingston, Bainbridge Island, and Poulsbo (sometimes in different houses in the same town). We also lived in Texas, New Mexico (twice), Indiana, and Colorado. I can always remember the year something happened in my childhood by remembering what house we lived in at the time.
Because of all this moving around, I was always the new kid in school. I changed schools eight times before I graduated. My record was three whole years in a row! I even went to three different high schools. This made me kind of a shy kid, too. (Although I’m told I’m outgrowing that.)
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a cowboy.
It goes without saying that I was horse-crazy. I loved to read (about horses), draw (horses), and write stories (about horses). Because we were in the military, though, I could never HAVE a horse. So my bike was a horse. So was a tree branch, a chair, or my little sister. I collected model horses. (I still have them.) One of my best gifts EVER was riding lessons when I was in 6th grade. I eventually did get my horse, but I had to grow up and get a job first.
When did I know that I wanted to be a writer and illustrator? I think I was four years old when I discovered that people make books. I can still remember being very frustrated when my printing did not match the font in my books. Or when my crayons did not match the three-color separation of professional printers.
Besides going to many different schools, I also went to three different colleges. I studied marine biology at Olympic Community College. I went to Western Washington University for my teaching degree. I got my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2008. It’s a fabulous program, and one I’d highly recommend for anyone who seriously wants to write for children.
I currently teach second grade in Lynden, Washington, where I live with my family. My husband, Rollo, is the world’s best insurance agent, and my daughter, Morgan, attends college in Spokane. We have a spoiled miniature dachshund named Sable. We all love to spend time up in the mountains near Leavenworth, Washington.