I grew up in a very small town, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Although our neighborhood was divided into city blocks with paved streets and sidewalks, there were only two houses on our street. We had fields on both sides, and I walked to school on a well-traveled path that was a shortcut through them. This was like living in the city and the country at the same time. A few steps from our neatly mowed yard were wild strawberries, milkweed, Queen Anne?s lace (wild carrot), and vast numbers of other "weeds" whose names I never knew, all changing with the seasons.
My friends and I walked or rode our bikes all over town. We spent a lot of time playing at each other?s houses. About the only time we needed to be driven anywhere was Saturday or Sunday afternoon, to go to a movie in a nearby town. In winter we went sledding on a not-very-steep hill and skating on ice which the fire department made by flooding an area near the school when the temperature was below freezing. The ice was just a few inches thick on the ground, so there was no danger of falling through.
In school, I was good at reading, writing, spelling, and social studies. Math was hard for me, but I kept trying and did all right with it. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do. My parents liked to read, so our house was always full of books, newspapers, and magazines. They always gave me books in addition to my other presents for Christmas and birthdays. Some of my favorites were "Ferdinand" (I loved the pictures), "Caddie Woodlawn," "Treasure Island," "Little Women," and Nancy Drew books. Getting my first library card also opened up even wider worlds to me through reading.
I got interested in writing on my own outside of school when I was ten or eleven. An aunt gave me a page-a-day diary, and I started writing in that, a sentence or two a day about what I was doing. Then my father brought home an old typewriter. I wanted to play with it, so I wrote a little story about something our family had done. That gave me such a great sense of accomplishment that I wanted to do more. By the time I was thirteen, my New Year's resolutions included "to write more stories and get one published." About a year later, I had an article published in my high school newspaper. It was a dream come true, and I kept writing.
After college, where I was editor of the student newspaper, I worked in writing jobs, mostly in public relations, and wrote articles for magazines and newspapers in my spare time. Then I got a part-time job teaching journalism at Baldwin-Wallace College and started writing books.
Last Revision 03/99