I was a sickly child in a house filled with books and with one TV that was generally broken; when I wasn't well enough to go to school, I read. I read whatever I could find (I didn't know enough to be daunted by Dumas or Dostoyevsky--and did you know there are thirty-eight Oz books?). Our community library was old and wonderful and my best friend and I would take out all the books we could carry and sometimes more than we could carry (one time we checked out fourteen hardbacks each and struggled mightily under the weight as we walked home). I had another friend who loved to write, and we would sit under the big tree in her yard and write poetry and read our poems to each other.
I also wrote stories and kept journals and tried a novel or two. None of that early stuff was very good, but all part of what it takes to be a writer (it's said it takes about a million words of practice to become publishable, and I don't doubt that). Later, when I went on to study mathematics and physics and then to teach those subjects, I continued to write when I could. While at UPenn, I had the privilege of studying creative writing with Carlos Fuentes; later I spent a summer at Clarion West, a six-week, intensive writing workshop in Seattle. As grueling and mind-expanding as Clarion West was, I didn't suffer the dry period that many writers do after that workshop, while they struggle to incorporate all that they've learned--and decompress. I had that experience after Sr. Fuentes' class!
After Clarion, I kept on writing and improving, received increasingly encouraging feedback from editors, and finally got the phone call I'd dreamed of: my story "Rosita's Baby" had won first prize in the second quarter of the 1994 Writers of the Future Contest. After that, I started publishing short fiction regularly in national magazines, sold a story to the Australian School Magazine, and saw two stories translated into Polish. My story "Silver Apples," which appeared in Realms of Fantasy, was a semi-finalist for the Nebula Award.
I've lived in Pennsylvania, California, and Florida, and have now returned to the Philadelphia area, where I tutor math and physics, write novels and short stories, ride my bicycle, play the violin, and do what I can to preserve the pastoral beauty of our local forests and fields.