Oh, gosh—you really want to know something about me? Well, okay—here goes!

I was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (not saying when), but I moved to Idaho when I was just two months old. So while I definitely consider myself an Idahoan, I do have a love for the south. I’ve visited family in Tennessee and Alabama many times, and I have wonderful memories of those steep mountains and hardwood forests and the hollows and little creeks where I walked with my grandfather on Sand Mountain. I’m proud to tell you that he was the unofficial mayor of Reed Break Beach!

I have a fascination, though, with the granite peaks and vast pine forests of the northwest, which is why I have partly located the books I have published so far in these places. I love to relax and write, gazing upon the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, or explore the wonders of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. All of these places are not far from where I live, and I spend as much time there as I can.

When I’m not traipsing around in my world of make-believe, concocting all kinds of trouble for my characters, I’m a wife to a wonderful man and a mother of three amazing kids—two sons and a daughter. They are all happily married to wonderful people, of whom I am also very proud. And recently, I became a Grammy to two amazingly wonderful, incredibly sweet and loveable little grandchildren! I can hardly keep my hands off them! I’m mom, as well, to a toy poodle and a little turtle. By day, I’m a secretary at a private school, and by night and weekend, I’m always writing.

My interests include music, having studied the piano and played handbells. My passion, however, since I was very small has always been writing. I believe that most writers will tell you that they always knew they wanted to be a writer. Where so many young people head off to college not at all certain what they want to study, it seems that writers have always known. A life-changing event for me occurred in sixth grade, when my teacher invited Wilson Rawls, the author of Where the Red Fern Grows, to talk to our class about his writing. I’d been entertaining my friends for a couple years with my little stories, and had no idea that my teacher had gotten her hands on some of them or that she had passed them along to Mr. Rawls to read before he came. I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was about his visit. I was in awe of him, because he represented everything I dreamed of being one day. I can still remember when he walked into the room, but I was completely astounded when he asked for me. Tentatively, I raised my hand, and he walked to my desk, getting down beside me. He told me he had read some of my stories and he liked them, and that I should always keep writing, because if I did, one day I would become a published author.

I’ve learned since that amazing day that he encouraged many young authors the very same way. And I strive to continue that legacy when I talk to young people about my experiences as a writer. Writing is such a solitary endeavor, and unless someone tells you, you really have no idea whether you’re any good at it or not. Composition and creative writing classes can be brutal to a budding author, as can critique groups, editors, and reviewers. My advice to anyone who wants to write is the same as Mr. Rawls’. Just keep writing. Find your voice, find your style, and be true to it. Correct spelling, grammar (except within dialogue), and form are important. But writing style is unique to each writer, and it should be! Don’t aspire to copy anyone else’s.

And that’s about it about me. There are still things I’d like to do—places in this world I’d like to see, concerts I’d like to go to, more grandchildren I hope to hold one day (can you ever get enough?), etc., etc. And I also hope to keep entertaining you, my friends, with my stories for many years to come.