I grew up among the forests and fields of southwest Wisconsin, where I spent most of my time with my nose in a book—preferably while sitting in a tree. A few of my favorites included Bridge to Terabithia, the Redwall series, and Caddie Woodlawn (my pick over Laura Ingalls Wilder). It wasn’t long before I started penning stories of my own. One of my earliest manuscripts featured a dog named Sparky who was kidnapped by a traveling circus troupe. But don’t worry! It had a happy ending. Sparky was reunited with his family and even learned some great circus tricks along the way.
After high school, I renounced the frigid winters of Wisconsin, venturing south to a small college called Furman in the Carolina foothills. There, I studied English and Earth & Environmental Sciences, splitting my love of words with my love of nature. After graduation, I traveled even farther south to Haiti, where I spent a year working on a reforestation project and learning a great deal about how little I knew. Deciding to further my education, I completed a master’s program in environmental policy at Indiana University. While there, I also worked for the county highway department, where part of my job involved mapping the local storm sewer system!
Today, I live in Chicago with my husband, Michael, and our adopted dog, Luna (as in, Lovegood). A few of my favorite current writers are Kate DiCamillo, Matt de la Peña, Neil Gaiman, and Nicola Yoon. When I’m not reading, writing, or eating ice cream, I can be found exploring local parks, perusing local bookstores (shoutout to 57th Street Books!), and discovering new brunch spots with my wonderful ChiYA friends. Over the years, I’ve found that every seeming detour in life is just another source of writerly inspiration. So here’s to many more detours ahead!