I grew up in a converted railroad depot in Kennedy Station, Iowa, where my brother and I entertained ourselves by walking on boxcars, visiting our dad’s blacksmith shop, and exploring an abandoned grain elevator and a "haunted" house. I kept a menagerie of animals, which at times included turtles, snakes, toads and frogs, rescued rabbits, and numerous dogs and cats.
I earned degrees from Grand View University, Iowa State University, and Drake University, and threw in a semester at Texas A & I for variety. I studied writing at the Institute of Children's Literature and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and I have actually read the stacks of writing books in my home office.
After nearly three decades of teaching middle school reading and language, I left the profession in 2006 to concentrate on my writing. MTV Books published Fairest of Them All, my first young adult novel about a beauty queen who develops alopecia, in April 2009. My second YA novel, A & L Do Summer, in which two friends create chaos the summer before their high school senior year was released in May 2011, by Egmont USA. I teach creative writing workshops for preteens, teens, and adults.