- How did you start writing?
My path to writing fiction was not direct or predictable. It began after I retired from a job that only included nonfiction writing for press releases, grants, op-ed articles, and testimony on public policy issues. I was president and executive director for the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to promoting active participation in our democracy.
My creative writing journey started with a mysterious occurrence when I found three pennies neatly stacked on a windowsill during my last sad walk through my mother’s empty apartment. I was convinced there was a magical and hopeful message in those pennies that would be perfect for a picture book.
Aware that I had no clue how to begin this project, I signed up for online courses, workshops, and conferences to learn the craft. What an eye-opener! There was so much to learn, and it wasn’t easy, but soon I discovered I couldn’t stop writing even after receiving some withering comments on a homework assignment. Simply put, I had found my passion. In the process I decided to put aside the pennies picture book, because I found my writing voice in middle grade fiction.
Swallowed by a Secret
- What are some middle-grade books you love?
There are many books I love, but I always put Katherine Paterson’s classics, The Great Gilly Hopkins and Bridge to Terabithia at the very top of my list. There is an elegant simplicity to her writing of these heart-wrenching books that are the epitome of a page-turner.
Some more recent middle-grade novels that should be on everyone’s to-be-read list are Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin, Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams, and One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. These books are full of guts, sorrow, and courage and leave you crushed when you read the words “The End.” You want to know what is next for those characters you fell in love with.
Readers' Favorite GOLD MEDAL winner for Children's Mystery
◆ 2020 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards SILVER MEDAL for Pre-Teen - Mature Issues
One dead father. One lying mother. One giant secret.
12-year-old Rocky's father dies suddenly, and he learns the "his heart stopped" story is bogus. Immediately after the funeral, his mother sticks the For-Sale sign in the lawn and whisks them out of town as if living there has become too dangerous. As his trust in his one remaining parent unravels, Rocky is determined to crack the secret about how his father really died.
For Rocky, the road to the truth involves eavesdropping, snooping, and listening to advice from his dead father who urges him on a risky journey.
Will Rocky have to rethink who was the father he thought he knew? Sometimes it may be better to let a secret stay hidden.