Stories are magicaI. I discovered this in 2nd grade reading my first real book, Children of the Lost Crusade. It was a grown-up book—thick, divided into chapter, without any pictures. That book carried me to the Middle Ages, in France and Arabia. And I discovered the first great truth about stories: they can take you anywhere, any when, as long as you can believe in the story.
When we had to write our own stories, I wrote about a little girl who wanted a dog. Obviously, that was me. I didn’t get a dog until much later, but I discovered my second great truth. Writing is powerful. The writer controls the universe and makes everything turn out just right. You can bet my story girl got her dog!
Although a native of California, I consider Winona home, having lived here for nearly 40 years. Mostly, I’ve been an educator, teaching students of all ages. For the last 21 years I taught high school and middle school English. After retiring in June, 2017, I now work one day a week as a writing coach, and focus more time on my own writing.
As a writer, I’m fairly eclectic. I’ve written short stories for children’s magazines, including Highlights, articles for encyclopedias and newspapers, and creative non-fiction for my blog. But what I love writing the most are books.
My first two books are non-fiction. From Brick to Bread: Building a backyard oven gives detailed directions on how to build and use a wood-fired oven. Snags and Sawyers: 2000 Miles Down the Arkansas River is the story of my father’s river trip in 1949, from Pueblo Colorado to New Orleans, along the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.
My favorite thing to write is historical fiction. I love exploring the past through reading, traveling, practicing cookery, and of course, writing about it. Both of my novels take readers into the lives of ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances. The first, A Mistake of Consequence, a BRAG Medallion Honoree, is a historical romantic adventure, set in Colonial America. Callie Beaton is kidnapped, carried across the ocean, and sold as a servant in the American Colonies.
My most recent novel is set in 1869, in the aftermath of the Civil War. Orphaned and desperate to find a home, Meg Kelly heads west on an orphan train. But there’s more to finding a home than she knows.