I grew up southwest of Boston in Medfield, Massachusetts with five brothers and five sisters on Juniper Lane in a house my father built. I was the exact middle, but there were a lot of us in the middle—so we learned to fend for ourselves. We had a garden, bunnies, cats, dogs, and horses. I spent a lot of time running in the woods, picking blackberries, swimming, collecting snakes, playing games, and in the summer we went to my grandmother's beach house. Lots of Saturdays, I worked for my Dad cleaning and sweeping his houses, and at night instead of doing the supper dishes, I got to read books to my four younger brothers. The first book I wrote was called, "Snakes, Snakes, and More Snakes."
In high school I played soccer, took art class, read books, and listened to Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. My mother let me drop Calculus for Creative Writing and I started writing poems and stories. Because I had never been on a plane or anywhere out of New England before I was 18, I wanted to go far, far away. I went to the University of California at Berkeley to be a veterinarian. After the first year, I knew I didn't want to take math and chemistry and transferred to the English department, where I studied Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf and took poetry classes with some great writers like Thom Gunn, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky, and Ishmael Reed.
After I graduated, I moved back East where I taught young children whose families lived in shelters, waitressed, worked as Coordinator for PEN New England, and wrote more poems. One of the poems kept getting longer and longer and eventually became my first novel, Stay, which received a St. Botolph's Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award. After I got married, I went to Africa for 8 months with my husband, Chris. There, I wrote my second novel, Ship Sooner, which won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for Literature. Both Ship and Stay were nominated as Best Books for Teenagers by the New York Public Library, and I was chosen as a Border's Original New Voice.
Now we live in Cambridgeport and have four children: Tess, Calla, CC, and Malcolm. I'd like to have more, but my husband says no way. Besides, there isn't a whole lot of room. Right now I do most of my writing on the big blue chair in the living room or on the end of my bed. I have ghostwritten for the Beacon Street Girl series, and I edit fiction as a freelance consultant for Grub Street, a writing organization based in Boston. Currently I am working on a new Young Adult novel called The Other Side of the World.
Some of my favorite things are the color blue, horses, ice cream, photography, pizza, playing with my kids, reading, roller coasters, swimming in the ocean, and the summer.
Please send me an email, ask me a question, or tell me about yourself. Happy reading!