One of the risks of travel is that you might just end up living somewhere far from home. That’s what happened to me. I was born and raised with my two sisters and one brother in New England in the United States, where we spent lots of time outdoors. Wildlife, nature, and the rhythm of seasons were a big part of growing up and learning about life, and they have remained an integral part of my creative work. I attended Wellesley College and received a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. Then I caught the travel bug and, after a stint in publishing, I got married and moved to Europe, living first in Rome, where my two sons, Peter and Max, were born, and later in the south of France. I have an office, but some of my best ideas for books come while on the move (in planes, trains, boats, and cars). I currently spend much of my time writing at the Chocolaterie, a chocolate shop in Monaco, where I am given free samples while working below a black-and-white photograph of Princess Grace, an American who became a princess of a small country in Europe.
About my Work
I have written many award-winning books for children, including If The Moon Could Talk, which won a Boston Globe– Horn Book Award, and The Night Worker, which won a Charlotte Zolotow Award. I like to think that each of my picture books is different, some growing out of imagination ,which for me was and continues to be a way of transforming life, and others out of simple words and rhythms that create an atmosphere or a special place for a child. Relationships are another important theme in both my picture books and novels. This reflects my own belief that relationships, especially early ones, profoundly shape a person. Although every one of my stories has an ending, I like to think of them as offering children a new beginning or a new place from which to experience life for themselves.
I am often asked where I get ideas for my stories. I used to think that inspiration was a product of my experiences, big and small, which somehow found their way into my writing. While I still believe that to be true to some extent, my own journey has taught me that there is a larger force at work, and I am but the vehicle of an expression that belongs to something collective as well as individual.
Things You May not Know About Me
Besides English, I speak French and Italian almost every day and sometimes I even think in those languages. When I’m not writing, I am a practicing hypnotist and regression therapist. I love playing the piano, doing pottery, puttering around outdoors, and cooking. I especially like making birthday cakes, but I hate cleaning up. And I love being with children. I love watching them and listening to them as much as I love writing for them.