I was born in Pennsylvania, where my father was a professor of agriculture at Penn State. I remember a wooded backyard on (aptly named) Sylvan Drive and a big Nittany Lion statue at the university, but little else because my family moved to Ohio in 1970, when I was four years old. (Now, if you do the math, you know how old I am!)
In Ohio, I grew up rural/suburban on a street with no sidewalks or streetlights and a horse pasture next door. But my cousins and grandparents lived on farms, so I spent as much time as I could trying to prove I wasn’t the city cousin. On my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm, I learned how to milk cows, walk barefoot in manure without making a face, and ride a pony into a barbed wire fence. Who could ask for better childhood memories than those? At the Ohio State University, I met TFOMD—The Farmer of My Dreams, who whisked me away in his red pickup truck to a farm in western Ohio, where we are happily raising three children, some cattle, goats, a whole passel of barn cats, and a Great Pyrenees named Hercules.
I write for children of all ages, but most of my books are for middle-grade readers. Winterfrost is a magical tale of a Christmas Eve gone awry, and it takes place in my other favorite country, Denmark. In it, you’ll follow Bettina on a winter adventure in search of her baby sister, who goes missing while in Bettina’s care. My first two books, The Beef Princess of Practical County and The Practical County Drama Queen take place on a family farm in Indiana. Kammie On First: Basball’s Dottie Kamenshek is my first nonfiction book, a biography of the Rockford Peaches’ amazing first baseman, Dottie Kamenshek.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I like to hike, especially in places where there are hills, because it’s very flat where I live.
2. I lived in Denmark for six months, and I know a handful of Danish words. (Like Jeg snak dansk.)
3. I am restoring a one-room schoolhouse from 1894, and someday I hope it will be my writing space and I’ll have a cat I’ll name Miss Beadle.