Here are three things I liked when I was growing up:
Now, I'm happy to say I live out in the country with my family, a dog, and a cat, surrounded by trees and hills. It might not be for everyone, but for me, it's bliss.
DIFFERENT JOBS I'VE HAD
I've had lots of jobs. Here are a few: Working on a tobacco farm (I did what was then considered the girls’ work: planting, and sewing the large leaves onto lathes for drying after they were harvested), selling donuts, waiting on tables in a deli (I only lasted a few weeks at that job), and babysitting. I've also worked as a tutor, library clerk, house cleaner, office receptionist, door-to-door canvasser, paralegal, and lawyer.
I was a lawyer for many years. I used the laws and the courts to help people in California to protect wetlands, forests, beaches, and other special wild areas. I helped towns develop policies to protect their natural resources while being fair to the people in the community too. Before that, I worked for a judge on the California Supreme Court. When I moved to Vermont, I worked for the state, helping to protect public health. I also helped consumers get their money back when unscrupulous businesses cheated them . . . things like that. It was good work. It was definitely worthwhile. And it involved a great deal of writing. . . . but not writing for kids.
A YEAR IN SPAIN
In 2011, my family moved to Spain for a year. What an adventure! So many things were different from what we were used to. When we arrived, we didn't even know how to buy food! But we learned. Before too long, we were making friends and learning all about Spain, its history and traditions (and enough of the language to get around).
During that year I decided to try something I’d wanted to do for a long time. You guessed it—write for children! Many of my stories, articles, and books were inspired by things I learned in Spain.
When we returned to Vermont, I decided that instead of going back to my job as a lawyer, I would write for children. It wasn't easy to start out as a beginner in a new field. I practiced and studied, attended conferences, asked questions and made mistakes along the way. And now I write full-time. How cool is that!