I was born in Texas, but raised in Alabama, where I spent a bunch of time water skiing, running up and down wooded hills on my grandparents’ farm, and riding horses.

I have always loved animals and mountains and books, not always in that order. My mom loves to tell the story of an adult friend who visited our house. When she arrived, I was reading the newspaper. Not too strange…except that I was four years old! I have no memory of this incident, but I do remember always reading everything around me. Road signs, cereal boxes, stacks of books that I checked out from the library.

I was the girl with her head forever stuck in a book. When the original Beauty and the Beast movie came out, I remember feeling awestruck. A smart girl with brown hair who longed for adventure and loved to read? Never before had I felt so understood and seen.

Reading and writing often go hand in hand. I began writing my own stories before I could spell. My grandfather had a typewriter in his office. I painstakingly typed stories with titles like Magic Mountain and Poncho’s Adventures. As the years passed, I talked friends into writing Babysitter’s Club fan fiction with me during sleepovers…instead of face masks or nail painting! I drew maps of fictional lands. I whispered stories to put myself to sleep. My mom even signed me up for a workshop where each kid wrote and illustrated their own “book” and even bound it! I still have The Brown Gingham Dress on my bookshelf today.

But when I went to college, I decided to focus on my second love – science! I studied biology and even worked in a real laboratory for years after college before moving back to Alabama to work for NASA. I have isolated proteins, studied bacteria, and talked to astronauts on the International Space Station. Science is awesome!

But I never stopped writing. I wrote science papers. I wrote stories for my kids, for the students that I worked with, for my friends. In 2020, I decided to pursue writing seriously, learning all that I could, even though the world had turned upside-down. Now, I write fiction and non-fiction, picture books, short stories, and novels. But each one has a smattering of science.

Today, I still live in Alabama with my husband and our three wonderful children. We’re surrounded by animals (dogs and cats, even hamsters and horses sometimes!), the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, and, of course, shelf after stuffed shelf full of beloved books.