I’ve always been inspired by nature and science, and have a B.S. in zoology and an M.S. in biological oceanography. Before becoming a children’s author, I worked as an environmental consultant studying wetlands and conducting ecological risk assessments.  Although my jobs have all involved analyzing, editing, and writing scientific papers, I have enjoyed creative writing for fun since I was a girl. During undergraduate school, I had six poems published in my college’s literary magazine and won the Benjamin Spencer Award for one of them, and I received awards from my college’s English department for a collection of my poems. Now in addition to writing, I love to travel and explore all kinds of habitats and learn about the plants and animals that live in those great places. I live in central New York State with my husband Dave, son Justin, and our dog Yoshi.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Where did you get the idea for Habitat Spy?

A: I’ve always loved to travel and explore different habitats, ranging from my backyard to the multitude found in our fabulous National Parks.  Behind my backyard is a meadow, behind the meadow is a shrubby area full of brambles, and far beyond the brambles the land rises into a wooded hill.  I wondered what those woods looked like, but I couldn’t get to them – those brambles were too clingy and painful!  But I imagined what I would see if Icould get from the meadow to those woods.  And I wondered what I would see if I kept walking, exploring habitat after habitat until eventually I’d traveled across the United States out in to the Pacific Ocean.  What a trip that would be – so many intriguing habitats, full of incredible plants and animals!  Since I couldn’t make that walk in real life, I made that trip come to life on paper, and that imagining turned into Habitat Spy.

 

Q: What was the most challenging thing about writing Habitat Spy?

A: Choosing only thirteen habitats – there are so many fascinating, beautiful habitats in our world, it was hard to focus on only a few!  Similarly, it was difficult to mention only four organisms in each habitat.

 

Q: When did you become interested in writing?

A: I’ve always been an avid reader, so in that way I’ve always been interested in writing.  But as far as doing it myself, I’ve enjoyed creative writing, particularly poetry, since I was a girl.  My education and first career in science changed the focus of my writing to technical writing.  It wasn’t until after my son was born that I made time for creative writing again, and because of him, I was drawn to explore children’s writing.  I haven’t stopped since!

 

Q: What is the most frequently asked question you encounter as a writer, and how do you respond?

A: I think that might be How do you have the discipline to write at home?  My answer:  I treat my writing as a job (a most enjoyable one!) with a schedule, so that when it’s time to write, it’s time to write.  I find having a routine helps me stick to the writing, even with all the distractions around me at home.

 

Q: What sparks your creativity?

A: My curiosity.  Trying to answer those standard questions what, when, where, how, and why turns on my creativity.  I find the question What if? particularly good for generating ideas.  Reading, music, and nature are important inspirations for me as well.