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About the author

author interviews and frequently asked questions >>

I really want to be a writer. How do I do it? >>

Will there be another D.J. book after Front and Center?  >>

So You Want to Read Middle Grade >>

How to Write a Fictional Journal: The Real Stories of Fake People >>

I grew up in small-town Connecticut, on a tiny farm with honeybees, two friendly goats, and a mess of Christmas trees. My sister claims we didn’t have a television, but we did — only it was ancient, received exactly two channels, and had to be turned off after forty-five minutes to cool down or else the screen would go all fuzzy. Watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was quite the experience, because it’s hard to tell vicious crows from a field of static; this might be why I to this day can’t stand horror movies. 

My sister Liz, who is now a Very Famous Writer and the author Eat, Pray, Love & many other great books, was my primary companion, even though she wouldn’t even try to jump off the garage roof no matter how much I taunted her. Now she travels all over the world collecting stories and diseases while I stay at home scowling over paint chips and trying to keep my kids off our garage. So the cycle continues. 

For the record, I did not play football or basketball in high school. I ran cross-country and track, badly, but I have absolutely no skill whatsoever with ball sports. Nor did I write much Liz was the anointed writer — but I read my little eyeballs out. I was the empress of our library’s four-shelf YA section. I still read YA and middle-grade fiction far more than any other genre. When someone recommends a book, I immediately ask, "Is it for grownups? Because I don't read those." Followed by "Does it have dragons?"

Dairy Queen was my first stab at creative writing since high school, not counting several years as a struggling screenwriter (which followed several years as a struggling scholar). I unabashedly recommend screenwriting for mastering the art of storytelling; just don’t pin any hopes on seeing your work on the big screen. But you’ll learn so much in the process that this won’t matter. I also recommend, you know, living. I've been passionate about food pretty much my whole life – first eating it, now preparing and then eating it. And so it plays a pretty big role in my writing, and adds so much flavor . . . not literally, of course, but the more you can add that's true, whether it's emotion or geography or gardening (that’s me in the picture above), then the stronger that story is.

I read your book in a flash cos I didn’t want to put it down . . . DJ is a gutsy, lovable character, her voice is clear & true & I loved her humour. Your book is a little gem. By the way I’m a 52 yo bookseller in Victoria, Australia; I will be recommending it to my YA customers. Happy writing.

  1. -Alexa