icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

About Me

     Like the main character in Rosa, Sola, I am the daughter of Italian immigrants, and I was born and raised in Chicago. Unlike Rosa Bernardi, though, I am not an only child. Here's a picture of me with my younger brother and sister.



My Childhood

As a child, I loved to read so much that my mother often told me, "You spend too much time with your nose in a book." My family owned few books, so I visited the public library regularly to stock up on reading material. When I was ten, my father purchased a brand new twenty-volume World Book Encyclopedia. The encyclopedia became one of my most valued possessions. I still use it to help me remember what the world was like when I was ten years old.


In junior high school, I began keeping a journal and writing poetry. The first piece of writing I ever had published was a poem called "My Sanctuary." It appeared in a book of creative writing by Chicago public school students. I also had an essay published in the local newspaper and one of my poems appeared in my high school yearbook. Here's a picture of me on my high school graduation day, with my brother and sister again.




As An Adult

I put aside my writing dreams to major in Mathematics and Computer Science in college. After graduation, I took a position as a computer programmer, married, and moved to a Chicago suburb. I worked with computers for five years before becoming a training course developer. Writing training materials soon rekindled my interest in writing. After my son was born, I quit my training job and became a freelance writer.


I worked as a freelancer for the New Catholic Explorer for five years, writing feature articles and a bi-weekly interview column. Some of my articles and essays also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and several national magazines, including Writer's Digest and Catholic Parent. Eventually, after being inspired by the books I read to my son every day, I decided to become a children's writer. I went back to school and completed an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. That's where I first started writing Rosa, Sola. Even though parts of the novel are based on things that happened to me as a child, it's really Rosa's story, not mine.


While working on my MFA, I began teaching writing classes and discovered that I love to teach almost as much as I love to write. I taught adult writing classes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois for over twenty years. To learn more about my classes, see the Events/Classes page. I'm also available to speak at libraries, schools, and conferences. See the Author Visits page for more information.



Five Things Most People Don't Know About Me

  1. I can't remember which I spoke first, English or Italian, but the Italian I spoke as a child was actually a dialect, not "proper" Italian.
  2. As a preschooler, I entertained my family with my singing and dancing. When I started first grade, though, my teacher didn't appreciate my antics. I sometimes had to stay after school for talking too much in class.
  3. At age 10, I was 5' 5" tall and one of the tallest kids in the whole fifth grade, earning me the nickname "jolly green giant." Yet my adult height is just over 5' 6."
  4. I first visited Italy at age 17, which is when I met one of my grandmothers for the first time. I still have cousins and other extended family living in Italy.
  5. I almost drowned in high school swim class, and I still don't like going in water over my head.