Cookie, Bella, Penny
I grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with an awesome mom and dad who read to me. What a tremendous gift! My older brother and sister were both smart and talented, and I wondered how I would find my place in the world.
My neighborhood friends and I spent our time riding bikes, looking for lizards and butterflies, and playing games outside. I read, drew, and wrote stories. I made my own books by stapling papers together. At the time it never occurred to me to dream of being an author or an illustrator. I had no idea that regular people were allowed to have such an amazing job. But I wanted to make a difference in the world, so I decided to become a nun. Who better to make the world a better place? My mother, who always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be, kindly suggested another goal, since I wasn’t Catholic. Dang.
Next I considered being an artist. Surely artists make the world a better place, I thought.
Eventually I went to the University of Oklahoma, majoring in art, and then I won an internship as a guest editor for Mademoiselle Magazine in New York City.
Arriving in New York City was culture shock in the loveliest of
ways. I had been waiting all my life to meet that magical city.
Somehow, it felt like home. I stayed for nine years. Best of all,
it was in New York that it finally occurred to me that authors
and illustrators are not superhuman divinities, but real people
who love to tell stories. And that it was okay for me to try to be
one. Or both.
Thirty years later, I am astonished and grateful
that I have been allowed to create a career of
I treasure creating humorous stories about feisty, quirky
characters. The joy and challenge of weaving together words and
pictures to tell stories is an adventure each and every day. It is a serendipitous adventure that is at turns joyous, surprising, frustrating and fun, but always unique. I love my job.
Now I live in Kansas City, Missouri, (another wonderful city, closer to family,) and I have a family of my own: a great husband, two terrific daughters, three rascally rescue dogs, and a couple of crazy rescue cats.