Deborah Underwood grew up in Walla Walla, Washington. When she was little, she wanted to be an astronomer. Then she wanted to be a singer. Then she wanted to be a writer. Today her jobs are writing and singing. Two out of three's not bad! (Okay, she also wanted to work in a piano factory and paste the labels on new pianos, but let's just ignore that one.)
Her dad was a math professor, and her mom taught English. Her sister got all the math brains, but some of her mom's word sense rubbed off on her, thank goodness. After college, she moved to San Francisco and became a street musician. Then she worked in an office typing memos for accountants. When the accountants weren't looking, she wrote screenplays. She found that if she glowered at the computer screen and yelled, "Criminy!" once in a while, everyone thought she was typing a very demanding memo and left her alone.
In 2001, Deborah decided to start writing stories for kids. She also began writing children's nonfiction. When a publisher asks her to write a nonfiction book, she usually doesn't know much about the topic. That means she has to learn fast. Now she knows about lots of cool things, like smallpox and orangutans and Easter Island and whether or not it's okay to slurp your noodles in Japan (it is).
When she’s not writing, you might find her singing in a chamber choir, playing a ukulele (very badly), walking around in Golden Gate Park, baking vegan cookies, or petting any dogs, cats, pigs, or turkeys that happen to be nearby.