Me? Do you really want to hear about me? Wouldn’t you rather hear about my adorable animals or a funny anecdote from my years teaching kindergarten? No? Oh, all right. Here are some facts about me:
I was born in England to Australian parents and moved with my family to the United States when I was in high school. Not wanting to make another big move, I attended a small liberal arts college nearby and took classes in art, literature, and creative writing. (I wanted to be a painter and poet; my parents wept and worried.) After taking a leave of absence to work in a local preschool, I returned to school to finish my BA degree in English literature and creative writing, but then continued my studies to become a teacher. I became certified to teach pre-K through fifth grade and went on to earn my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
I was a public school kindergarten teacher for 14 years and put my heart and soul into my work. Unfortunately, putting my heart and soul into teaching left little time or energy for writing and art, which I still loved. A story character had been dancing in my head for a few years, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to develop it. (Don’t believe the rumors of leaving school at three o’clock, having whole summers off, or sitting at a desk all day. Teaching is a full-contact Olympic sport.)
Determined to pursue writing and illustrating children’s books full time, I joined SCBWI in 2012 and began attending conferences and taking part in manuscript reviews with the heart and soul I once put into my teaching. I also attended Hollins University as part of their children’s literature graduate program and earned an illustration certificate in 2018. I learnt so much at Hollins and have developed an approach to my illustrations that produces a soft, smooth, and “perfect” look that I like. (I always aspire to soft, smooth, and perfect!)
I love the solitude and thoughtfulness of the creative process, the hours spent at my drawing table, and the hard work of dedicated practice. I take inspiration from my animals, my teachers, and the many wonderful illustrators that have come before me. I have so many stories to tell and yearn for intelligent, engaging, and truthful stories to read, write, and illustrate. I hope you like them, too!