There’s lots here, but it’s all bulleted, so skim through and read what you’re interested in!
I was born in Boston, MA on March 3rd 1966. When I was three, my family moved to Holderness, NH, one of the places I still consider home. My dad ran a summer resort called Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on the shores of Squam Lake in the foothills of the White Mountains—the most beautiful spot in the world. The movie On Golden Pond was filmed there if you need a visual. A few tidbits:
- There were four kids in my family, but my brother moved to LA when I was four (he was 16) so I hardly ever saw him.
- We raised ducks and geese, boarded horses, and had a cow called Barnsmell.
- When I was 8, my mother and I took the bus to California (she had a fear of flying)—four days and three nights. In Nevada, I was asleep and she went into a rest-stop to set her hair. The bus left without her. She caught up to me two hours down the road; we were both freaked out.
When I was eleven, my mom and I spent a year moving around: Newfields, NH, Redwood Valley, CA, Rochester, MI. She and my dad had just split so she was visiting family while she figured out what to do next.
- In Redwood Valley, I lived on a 98 acre grape vineyard and pig farm with my 12 cousins. No one wore shoes.
- In Rochester, I attended St. John’s Lutheran School for two months—a world away from the pig farm.
After our year on the road, we settled in Durham, NH where my mom enrolled in a Masters’ program at UNH. I started seventh grade at Oyster River Middle School and stayed in that school system until I graduated from Oyster River High School in 1984.
- My mom was part-time in the counseling program, but needed to be full-time to live in (cheap) student housing, so she took extra credits in PE. While my friends’ parents were going to jobs as bankers or teachers or engineers, my mom was rushing off to her classes in cross-country skiing, total fitness, and swimming.
- I earned Varsity Letters in Math, Music, and Drama, and I still maintain that I was not a geek.
- My mom took in roomers to help pay the rent when she had graduated and had to get a real apartment. One of the roomers was named Fudd.
- I spent the summers with my dad and my step-family on Squam Lake .
When I graduated from high school, I went to Brown University in Providence, RI.
- I took all of my classes junior and senior year (and most of sophomore year) Pass/Fail. (Brown calls it Satisfactory/No Credit, and allows you to do this.)
- My roommates during sophomore year were from Long Island, Korea, and Belgrade.
- I spent a semester of my junior year in London at Queen Mary College.
- I read a lot of 18th and 19th Century British Literature, flirted with majoring in Physics, Classics, Religious Studies, and History before deciding to be an English major (and yes, I flirted with a lot of guys, too…)
- I wrote my senior thesis on Virginia Woolf and graduated with Honors (despite the fact that I had no GPA).
- During the summer, I waited tables at Howard Johnson’s (two years) and Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant (two years.) At Hart’s, they make everything with turkey instead of chicken: turkey croquettes, turkey cordon bleu, turkey nuggets. We don’t use the “c” word at Hart’s.
For my first job, I taught 7th and 8th grade English at the Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, MD.
- Roland Park was all girls, and they wore uniforms: blue jumpers or skirts, white blouses, white bobby socks, and brown shoes.
- My roommate was from Mobile, Alabama. When she moved out with all the furniture, my new roommate and I had dinner parties on a blanket on the floor of the dining room.
- My boyfriend from Brown and I carried on a long distance relationship between Ann Arbor, MI and Baltimore for two years. He moved to Baltimore and we broke up two weeks later.
After Baltimore, I moved to Cambridge, MA and got a Master’s in Education at Harvard Unversity.
- I was a freshman proctor and academic advisor and lived in a dormitory of freshmen right on Harvard Yard. It was my job to help them pick classes and prevent keg parties.
- I got engaged to Ferg, a guy I’ve known since I was three years old. He and his family vacationed on Squam Lake. We got engaged six months after we started dating. When you know, you know.
After graduating from Harvard, I moved to West Chester, PA, where Ferg is from, and got a job teaching at the Westtown School. That’s where I’ve been ever since.
- I have two kids, a son who is 15 and a daughter who is 12.
- Both of our kids have gone to the Kimberton Waldorf School—a school that has a no TV, no video games, no computer policy for school and home. Instead, students learn to knit, sculpt, garden and blacksmith, along with the usual three R’s. Still, my son knows how to download music from iTunes better than I do. How does that happen?
- We still vacation at Squam Lake every summer. Now my kids play with the children of people I played with. A little scary.
- I’ve become a Phillies fan, but I cried when the Red Sox won the World Series because my dad wasn’t alive to see it.
- We used to have chickens but the zoning in our township says that you must have three acres to have chickens. Do they know that chickens live in two by two cages on most factory farms?
- We have a dachshund named Buster who sits on my lap when I write.
- I didn’t start even imagining myself as a writer until I was 30.
- My first book took five years to write and never got published. (It’s set in the same world as Watersmeet and The Centaur’s Daughter, so it was still a useful book to write.)
- It took me three years to write the draft of Watersmeet that sold to Marshall Cavendish.
- I wrote a draft of The Centaur’s Daughter in less than a year.
- I met my agent and my publisher at a conference at the One-on-One conference at Rutgers University.
- I write whenever I can rather than at a set time. I tried getting up at 5 for a while but it turns out, I am not a good person when I wake up at 5.
- I don’t write every day and probably wouldn’t even if I could fit it in. Five days a week, three hours a day would be ideal, but family and job keep me from being able to do this regularly.
- I write on an antique tavern table with knife marks all over the top.
- I always write on my laptop, never long hand.
So…that’s a flavor of my life. Feel free to ask about things you’d like to know! If I can, I’ll answer you!