I grew up the youngest of four siblings in a Cape Cod house in the village of Huntington which is on the north shore of Long Island, NY. My father rode the train to work in Manhattan everyday while my mother was a first grade school teacher in Huntington Station. Mom was home with us every summer which made for long happy vacations of going to the beach, lazing in the back yard hammock and reading books borrowed from the public library.
I was an artistic kid who loved to draw and paint and make things out of paper mâché. I loved looking at picture books but I was not a particularly good reader. I had what I now believe was a sort of dyslexia which made remembering symbols (words & numbers) difficult. Reading, for me, was a slow and laborious process. I particularly loved picture books with elaborate illustrations and would pour over the them discovering details in the pictures that the words of the story had left out.
I was a budding illustrator by second grade. My most vivid memory is of the Blue Book in which we kept a continuing story about a family of blue birds. (Blue, to this day, is my favorite color.) Every day our teacher, would write a short paragraph on the black board about the blue birds. I remember carefully copying the words into my Blue Book and then drawing a picture to illustrate the paragraph. This was my very favorite thing to do!
I was always good at art and in High School I told my Mom that I wanted to go to art school instead of college. She turned white. “Oh, no!” she said. “You can’t do that! You’ll meet weird people there!” So it was decided that I would not be weird but instead go to a liberal arts college and get a practical degree in education like my mother, which I did. But I didn’t teach for long before I had a family of my own and concentrated on the domestic arts and raising two boys while my husband traveled the globe with his job. I did eventually go to art school by way of graphic design and I continued to draw and explored a lot of different creative arts.
Latter in Life==================================================
When we went to live in France in 1990, I started studying watercolor painting and writing children’s poetry just for fun. I was encouraged by people buying my paintings and when we came back to the U.S. in 1995 I took a lot of painting workshops from National instructors, entered competitions and even won awards. Yes, I was a successful painter and loved it but the children’s stories I had started but never finished kept nagging at my mind like hungry baby birds wanting to be fed. I would go and play with them, from time to time, feeding the birds bits of new words and sketches and dreaming of them becoming real children’s books one day. But I never committed to it. Then one day not long ago, I realized that time was running out for this secret dream of mine. I expressed to a friend my regret that I had never written and illustrated a children’s book. The friend, who knew about my hungry birds, said the words that would change my life, “Just finish ONE.” So I committed to Leaning into the Dream. I gave myself permission to put aside all other art work to focus on creating my first children’s picture book. I would finish writing one story, even if it took almost a year of writing and rewriting. I would illustrate it in my own style and I would get it published, even if I had to do it myself. But as luck would have it, during the process, I met a pair of publishers who wanted to publish my book. A year later, Lonely Lola Ladybug was published by Bellastoria Press! Wow! Now I want to do more!