About Me

I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, in a multicultural household. I’m half Indian and half German, so I sometimes felt a bit different from other kids. But, this also meant I got to live in three cultures at once – German, Indian and American. I got to hear stories from all three: Indian folktales, the European fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm, and the piles of American and English books I was always reading.

All these influences inspired my childhood self to want to do two things: live in a magic forest and be neighbors with a wood-witch, and fly away with everyone I loved in a magic balloon.

Over the years, I’ve lived in lots of interesting places – D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, France. I also lived for quite a while in Austin, Texas, where I was an English and creative writing professor. I loved helping my students discover the magic of storytelling.

I’ve written many books for children, and illustrate picture books as well. I hold a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a Master’s Degree in Children’s Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University. When I’m not writing or drawing, I’m exploring the beautiful country of England, where I now live.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How do I become a writer?

You become a writer by reading a lot, writing a lot, and most important of all – by remembering that you have a very special and unique point of view, even when you don’t feel like you do. If you want to write but don’t know where to begin, there are lots of ways you can practice. For example, you could start by describing the things and people around you. And then, when you’re comfortable with that, start making up characters of your own. Give them interests and secrets! Give them a problem, and try to think of how they’ll solve that problem. And when you’re writing, don’t worry about it if your stories aren’t perfect at first – no one’s are! Just keep writing and practicing. In other words, don’t get discouraged if you don’t love what you write right away. Authors spend a long time getting their stories just right!       

Also, if you feel like doing an experiment, try to follow at least one of your stories all the way through to the end. I know it’s a lot harder to finish a book than to start one – but you can do it! I believe in you. 

How do I become an illustrator?

The advice is quite similar to becoming a writer! Becoming an illustrator starts with looking very closely at the world around you, and practicing drawing it as much as you can. Everyone sees the world a little differently, and no one else has your very unique perspective. It also means trusting the wonderful images you might have in your head, and practicing drawing those every day, too. And it’s the same as with writing – don’t worry if your pictures aren’t perfect. Practice is the key. Illustrators, too, spend a long time getting their pictures just right!

What would you be if you weren’t an author or illustrator?

Probably either a research psychologist, someone who runs an elephant sanctuary, a women’s studies professor, or a trapeze artist.

Fun facts:

Proudest moment: Hmmm…one of them would be when I won my school spelling bee in fifth grade, despite having pneumonia and a fever of 103 (which I didn’t realize at the time.)

Favorite animal: Seahorses!

Favorite season: Definitely fall.

Favorite movie: Clue.

Favorite place: It’s a toss-up between Schwangau, Germany, and Sedona, Arizona. Both look like fairytale kingdoms to me.

Strangest place I’ve ever been: Gibraltar. There are very cute, grumpy rock apes – called Barbary macaques – hanging out all over the place. There’s also a pedestrian walkway that crosses the runway of the airport!

Interviews

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