More About the Author
I'm a trapeze artist, astronaut, spy--just kidding!
Well, the bit about being a spy is true. It was a long time ago in a far off land, lots of fun, and planets away from my middle-class upbringing in the UK. I was born in a little coal-mining town in South Wales and properly brought up in England where I did English things like attending an all-girls grammar school, playing rounders, doing two hours of homework every day, and going on soggy caravan holidays with my family. I also trained as a classical pianist, which meant annoying family and neighbors with daily four-hour practices.
Once I grew up--wait, that's a fib; I've never actually grown up--I experimented with hedonism in Paris, where, among other things, I taught English to very proper French schoolgirls, and I failed to abide by the British embassy's social rules in Romania, but that's another story. My job in Bucharest was to appease visiting Royal Ballet dancers. If you've ever attempted to herd butterflies, you'll know what I mean. Soon after that I gravitated to the USA because the streets there were supposed to be paved with gold. They weren't, but I stayed anyway and finally wound up catching my breath in a tranquil fishing and farming community on Virginia's coast.
The rest of my so-called professional life has been a regal zigzag through a motley variety of careers from orchestral management to law-firm media relations to academic editing, all of which entailed a lot of writing and editing. Although that work brought me plenty of satisfaction, it didn't produce the kind of magic that can come from writing fiction and nonfiction for children.
Children's literature has always fascinated me. My parents read bedtime stories to me when I was a child and I read stories to my son when he was small. All I needed was an excuse to borrow books from the children's library, and declaring myself to be a children's writer did the trick. Studying the work of great children's writers gives me the chance to indulge my love of that enchanting mix of innocence, escapism, imagination, and humor that bubbles out of children's literature.