I grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, and though I didn’t take to reading at a young age, I was fascinated with animals. My parents would say you couldn’t keep them away from me. I also enjoyed drawing and painting and spent long hours in the backyard, capturing my vision of animals and nature on paper.
I loved the thought of working with animals, especially otters, so I headed off to college. After receiving my Bachelor’s in Science in Zoology from Texas A & M University, I started work in the veterinary field.
My creative spark grew while helping animals at the clinics and volunteering at the zoological gardens, so I began filing ideas and stories in my head. My children’s births fueled that fire, and I started writing those stories for children, using nature as an outlet to teach them about various issues and entertain them at the same time.
Soon after publishing my picture books, I decided to write for older children with A Tale of Two Squirrels. It wasn’t long before more advanced plots popped into my head, and I am currently working on multiple young adult books, from fantasy fiction to paranormal romance. You can enjoy my illustrations in Sandy Barton’s Christmas tale, The Tree (2015), with the 2018-2021 New York State Habitat & Access Stamps, and through my store, Otter Things®.
I live with my husband in western New York, where I actively write and draw. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, the Buffalo Niagara Children’s Writers & Illustrators, and a Western New York Children’s Book Expo Ambassador. When I’m not busy running my business, writing, or illustrating, I volunteer in the community as a New York State Bluebird Ambassador for the NYS Bluebird Society and Len Anderson Memorial Bluebird Trail.
Keep up with what’s happening via my blog. Here are just a few things you will find:
- Fortune Cookie Friday – my monthly post where the fortune cookie crumbles
- Insight into writing, illustrating, and independent publishing
- Creative posts on The Big Wood by Mrs. Otter, from A Tale of Two Squirrels
- Updates on events and new releases
- Occasional goofy stuff, because that’s just who I am
Interesting Facts About the Author
- I like to leave Easter eggs (anything in a story that references another author or work or inside joke) in my writing.
- I am training an army of squirrels to aid me in my plans for world domination. I have armed them with acorn-47s.
- I write down ideas everywhere – on post-it-notes, my computer, my phone, even my office windows.
- I had many imaginary friends as a child. I don’t remember their names, but I occasionally still talk to them. I call them my characters.
- I didn’t learn to swim until I was 12 years old. I was terrified of the water. Now, I love to swim and would gladly swim with otters, given a chance.
- I love roller coasters and cotton candy (especially maple cotton candy).
- In my first year of college, I went cave exploring in Mexico with my Biology professor and some students. We all suffered from Histoplasmosis afterward but had the opportunity to aid in discovering a new invertebrate.
- I hate making my bed. I don’t see the point.
- I am a Geek, and therefore, I love all things geeky.
- The names I choose for my characters usually have a reason, e.g., I named the Squirrely Over Nuts protagonist, Carol, because Sciurus carolinensis is the scientific name for the Eastern Grey Squirrel.
- I like to illustrate animals from abnormal viewpoints or perspectives. Some illustrations are from below or behind the animal.
- I usually sit cross-legged at my desk. Unfortunately, my legs fall asleep when I work for a long time.
- You may see me traipsing through a field in Clarence or Lockport, NY. As a Bluebird Ambassador for the NYS Bluebird Society, I monitor Bluebird nest boxes during the breeding season and educate the community on Bluebird conservation. Feel free to say, “Hi.”