I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the fourth of five children.

Tracy in pink

When I was five we moved to a very small town where we lived out in the country in a house on a hill at the end of a half-mile long driveway. Because the school bus picked us up at the road, we did lots of running to catch it.

In the pen

Before I was up and running, I hung out in a playpen. My mom is still wracked with guilt because she thinks my time in “the pen” is to blame for all the staring I did growing up (in public she’d poke me and whisper, “Quit staring.”) I prefer to believe I stared because I was a writer in the making. These days I’m more discreet in my people-watching, but it’s my favorite form of research and I’ll never quit.

Mighty three-year-old

I believe in living life with a little attitude, and it doesn’t hurt to take a few chances, either. I will, however, pass along this tip: think twice (or five times) before going to the JCPenney hair salon for a radical hair cut and perm; those older women might not share your vision (even if you do bring a magazine photo).

The original Napoleon Dynamite

It’s good to have goals but don’t be alarmed if you end up elsewhere. I started out wanting to be a librarian and along the way became a visual inspector in a canning factory, personal assistant to a blind woman, dishwasher, cashier in a fancy clothing store, teacher, recycling center tour guide, and mom. Then when my younger child turned one, I decided it was time to write a novel.  Because, you know, I wasn’t busy enough with a toddler and baby. I wrote in secret and loved disappearing into a world that didn’t include temper tantrums and poopy diapers.

Sons: Zebu and Wildebeest

I now live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and no longer write in secret. Because I’ve always most enjoyed reading novels about real people who handle life much as I do (without swords or magic spells), those are the kinds of stories I write, middle-grade and young adult fiction. I write, trail-run, bird, and read lots and lots of books.

Being a “bird brain”

The great thing about life is you never know what might happen next.