Facts of ^ Life
I was born in San Francisco, and even though I haven’t lived there for many years, I still think of it as home. I miss everything about the Bay Area – especially the fog, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Ghirardelli hot fudge sundaes!
Growing up, I was the youngest of four, and quite a tomboy. My big brother nicknamed me, “The Animal.” I liked making mud leaf sandwiches – wet mud stuck inside a folded leaf, like a hot dog in a bun – and having mud leaf wars with the kids on my block. I climbed trees, and collected caterpillars and eraser dust. Yes, strange as it may seem, eraser dust was all the craze when I was in elementary school. I spent countless hours erasing different color erasers and carefully layering the dust in clear plastic tubes. Sounds weird, but it was fun!
I was also a bit of a trickster. I made perfectly round sand balls in my neighbor’s sand box, then froze and served them to dinner guests, pretending they were scoops of ice cream. It was always fun to see people’s reaction when they tried to dig in! I also liked “helping out” when my parents had their annual big fancy cocktail party – they were just like the party at Rose’s house. I’d sneak down in my nightie and serve black pitted olives on the end of my fingertips. Looking back, olives were never very popular at those parties. I wonder why??
When I was 13, we moved to London for a couple of years where I went to the same fancy girls school as the daughter of an English princess. I think my parents were hoping that I’d learn to be a tad more lady-like there. Here’s what I did learn – how to fake a really good British accent! I also learned NOT to go fox hunting, which is something I did once but will never do again. It was in Yorkshire at a Lord’s country mansion. Everybody was all dressed up in their fancy English riding gear. My horse threw me off before we even got started, so I had to ride behind all the others, over hill and dale, on a… bicycle. I probably looked as dumb as I felt! Very happily (for me and the foxes) – no foxes were found!
Later, I went to UC Berkeley and studied Psychology. I was terrified of writing back then, especially writing academic papers, and picked classes that required me to write as little as possible. If you’d told me then that I was going to grow up and become an author, I never would have believed you!
When I was more grown up, I lived in South Africa for six years where I worked as a journalist. The most thrilling moment of my time there was when Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years! As a huge animal lover, I went to the game parks to see the wildlife whenever I could. I even took a two week course on how to become a game ranger. I had many exciting experiences in the African bush, including riding on the back of an elephant, white water rafting down a hippo and crocodile infested river, and camping out in the middle of the open savanna with wild animals – like lions, leopards and hyenas – roaming all around. I absolutely loved my time in Africa!
Now I live in Bethesda, MD, with my two children, husband and two cats. When I’m not doing mom stuff or writing, I work with children helping them with reading, writing and math. I also like to bake and eat – especially anything with chocolate in it!
And the most helpful advice I can pass on to anyone who wants to be a writer… Most good writing comes from writing and then rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Don’t Give Up!