I was born 1963 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I don’t remember much of Pittsburgh because my family moved when I was three, then moved when I was six and so on and so forth until I had moved and changed schools seven more times by the time I finished high school. My strongest memories as a child were of our farm in Ohio. The farm was an hour away from school and friends. Besides keeping busy taking care of our animals, (we had 4 cows, 25 chickens, 6 horses, a few sheep, some rabbits, many cats, and several dogs) we played in the barn, worked in the garden, rode the horses and swam and skated on our pond. My sister was taking an art class when she was 11 and I would peek in on her while she used her new drawing tricks. I remember she was drawing an egg and shading her drawing to make it look round. It was like magic! I’ll never forget that moment. From then on, I drew and painted all of the time.
After college, I did lots of odd jobs in the art field, including art directing, computer graphics, and mural painting. They were all fun, but none of them felt like THE JOB; the work that I would want to do for rest of my life. After a few years of trying to figure it out, I met a children’s book illustrator who became a good friend. One day he broke his arm mountain biking. Unfortunately for him, he was in the middle of a book and had a deadline. Fortunately for me, the publisher picked me to finish the book after lots of other illustrators tried to copy his style. I loved illustrating that book so much, I forgot to eat, drink or go to bed. I had found my passion.
I sent out some drawings to about 15 publishers and got some great responses. The vice president of Little, Brown Publishers called to ask me if we could have a meeting. He wanted to see if I had written any stories. I racked my brain; it hadn’t occurred to me to write a book too. It took me a couple of years to develop the idea for my first book A FISH NAMED SPOT. I was eight months pregnant when I got the contract to begin the work and my husband was in medical school, so I drew most of A FISH NAMED SPOT with a baby bouncing on my lap.
Now I live in a town a quick drive away from Boston and Cambridge, with my husband and two daughters. I have a studio in an old Mill that’s on a bike path. It takes me 5 minutes to bike there, but it’s downhill from my house, so it takes twice as long to get home. I usually drive to the studio so I can bring my dog Lila. Sometimes Lila and I take breaks from my work to go rollerblading.