I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 2, 1948, in a hospital that has been torn down, which I’m pretty steamed about. When I was three years old, my father reenlisted in the Army, and I spent my growing up years moving around a lot—twice, I went to three schools in a single academic year. You can understand my dilemma when people ask me where I’m from. My usual answer is “Um…..nowhere?”
I’ve loved books and reading from the time my mother began reading to me, and I’ve loved writing ever since I could hold a pencil. I submitted my first poem to American Girl magazine when I was nine years old. It was rejected, and it took twenty-five years before I submitted anything again. Then, I entered a contest in a magazine and won. I wrote for magazines for ten years, then moved into novels and haven’t stopped yet. I usually do a book a year. I’ve won a number of awards, which are listed elsewhere in the interest of false modesty.
Before I became a writer, I was a registered nurse for ten years, and that was my “school” for writing—taking care of patients taught me a lot about human nature, about hope and fear and love and loss and regret and triumph and especially about relationships–all things that I tend to focus on in my work. I worked as a waitress, which is also good training for a writer, and I sang in a rock band which was not good for anything except the money I made. I was a dramatic and dreamy child, given to living more inside my head than outside, something that persists up to today and makes me a terrible dining partner. I have two daughters and four grandchildren. I live with my partner Bill Young, and our excellent dogs, Gabigail Starletta Buttons, and Austin Ima Riot, and our cat, Gracie Louise Pawplay, near Chicago, even though what I really want to do is live on a hobby farm with lots of animals, including a chicken, I’m dying for a chicken. . The animals would like you to know they did not get to vote on their names. Or on the food they eat.