I never intended to become a writer.  Growing up, it seems like I wanted to do everything but write.  At
various points in my young life, I wanted to be a ballerina, a high steel welder, a parapsychologist, a radio DJ, a scientist, a stage manager, and about 40 other things I can't even remember.  When I had to finally bite the bullet and pick a college major, I chose chemistry for reasons both personal (I idolized my high school chemistry teacher) and pragmatic (chemists can get good jobs without needing an advanced degree, unlike biologists and physicists).  I got a job, got married, got a house ... and got bored.  Turns out that designing and testing automotive coatings is just about as exciting as watching paint dry.

While working as a chemist, I had the opportunity to move to Japan for several years.  This was back in the late 1990s, when e-mail was still sort of new and the internet was something I used mostly for looking up recipes and trying not to accidentally end up on adults-only sites when I searched for "chicken breasts."  But with the 14-hour time difference between us and our friends back home, e-mail was the most convenient way to keep in touch and let them know all about the adventures we were having in Japan.  I began writing weekly e-mails, which I sent to all of our friends and family who happened to have e-mail access. And that's how I started blogging, back before blogs were even a thing.

Fast-forward a few years, and I couldn't take life in the coatings industry anymore.  I decided I wanted to be the next Linda Wertheimer, so I quit my job and went to grad school for journalism.  I even worked in radio for a while as a radically underpaid afternoon host at an NPR affiliate in Richmond, Kentucky.  Then I had my daughter, and working didn't seem so important anymore.  I stayed home with her, and I used what little free time I had to write actual blog posts to keep our far-away family in touch while my daughter was young.

She grew up quickly, and since our house was floor-to-ceiling bookcases in most rooms, it wasn't surprising that my kid was an early reader.  When she reached kindergarten, I began to see a problem.  She could read at a sixth-grade level, but books written at that level often contained material that was definitely not suitable for the average five-year-old's psyche.  If we stuck with early-reader books, she enjoyed the subject matter, but she would blow through the books so fast she'd be finished with a huge pile of them before we even made it home from the library.  Seriously - she could make it through one of the Rainbow Fairies books practically before we made it out of the library parking lot.  What she needed were chapter books that didn't include lots of kissing, or terribly scary things, or too many emotionally difficult topics like divorce or death.  And she wasn't alone - parents of my daughter's classmates had the same observation, as did many of the people whose posts I read online.

And that's where I found my niche.  Starting with an inspiration I had during a writing class with the witty, wonderful, and wise Alice Bradley, I began writing stories for children whose reading level is a bit higher than their age would indicate.  My stories feature strong, quirky characters, descriptive settings, and compelling story lines.  They gently show readers that even young children can make a difference in the world, or stand up to bullies, or solve problems that have stumped the adults.

So that's where I am today: writing stories I think my daughter's classmates would enjoy and trying to find a way to share them with the world.  I hope you enjoy my thoughts on my journey towards becoming a published author.  Stick around - and let's find out together how this story is going to end!

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