I grew up in upstate New York. After I graduated Vassar College, I came home for about an hour, then moved to Connecticut for graduate school at Yale University. I studied Russian and Soviet history. I visited the USSR (while it still was the USSR) in 1987 – when very few students could go there.
I got engaged and began applying to law schools and planning my wedding. My life changed when my fiancé called one day to ask if I would mind moving to France. Two months after the wedding, we moved to Toulouse France. We lived there for three years, a city filled with contradictions: aerospace technology side by side with medieval castles. Afterwards came a two year stint outside of Paris.
At that time, drawn by the vision of restaurants that would let you eat whenever you wanted to and genuine customer service, I returned home with my husband and settled in Fairfield County, Connecticut. I worked as a technical writer and project manager for internet design firms while I raised my two daughters. I led a girl scout troup, ran the elementary school book fairs for eight years running and built Habitat Houses. I was also President of the International Visitors Committee of Connecticut which welcomes the United Nations to my hometown every year. And I began to write.
I was always fascinated by stories of how famous people grew up to be that way. My first novel Prisoners in the Palace (Chronicle October 2010) explores the year before Princess Victoria becomes Queen. Victoria led a restricted and sheltered life. The adults around her were plotting to take advantage of the young queen’s inexperience and youth. This story asks the question, what if Victoria were not completely alone? What if she had a friend? What if Victoria was not as powerless as she seemed?
My second book, Promise the Night is a rollicking ride through the childhood of Beryl Markham the aviator. Raised in Colonial Africa, Beryl was raised by the tribe who worked for her father and she learned how to hunt lion before she could write. Beryl was caught between two worlds: a life of a warrior or that of a proper young English lady. Promise the Night is the story of how she grows up to become a world-class pilot who is the first to cross the Atlantic solo going from Great Britain to North America.
I’m now working on two different series. The first is a literary mystery series with Chronicle Books featuring famous writers in their teens. So far we’ve done Emily Dickinson (Nobody’s Secret), the Bronte sisters (Always Emily), Louisa May Alcott (The Revelation of Louisa May) and coming in October, 2016 , Jane Austen in Secrets in the Snow. I’ve also started the Hidden Histories series with Calkins Creek. These stories feature kids in little-know historical controversies and the children who lived through them. The first is Rory’s Promise, a story about an orphan train going to Arizona in 1904. The second was Freedom’s Price about Dred Scott’s daughter Eliza. Coming in October 2016, The Lost Ones tackles the Indian Boarding Schools of the 19th century.