All About Me 28

authorpic2Hello, friends!

I worked in marketing and editorial in kid’s publishing for many years before taking a big leap to the full-time life of an author. Since 2000, I have penned 120+ books–from picture books to young adult fiction and nonfiction and written freelance for American Girl magazine, Mattel, Scholastic, Columbia Tri-Star, Star Wars Kids magazine, and much more. I even worked on a digital education platform called MicroRangers for the Museum of Natural History. My journey as a writer has taken many twists and turns and reckless nosedives into unknown territory. I have the writer scars to prove it.

Along the way, however, my greatest creative experience happened: I had two sons and a daughter. I did not know it at the time, but this meant a new life as tutor, swim taxi, baseball scorekeeper, backup singer, and Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader. And sleep-deprivation beyond my wildest imagination.

Some other facts about me:

Arrival on Planet Earth: I was born centuries ago (okay, like half a century ago) in Massachusetts, nearly delivered in traffic on the way to the hospital. Born near Boston means I am a lifelong Red Sox fan. My great-grandfather was an electrician who helped install the lights in Fenway Park. Many pals are Yankees folks, however, which can be a problem during baseball season.  

Siblings: I’m an only child. Sort of. My dad and stepmom adopted a beautiful baby boy when I was in college, so I do have a step-brother. His name is Andrew and he plays drums, teaches guitar, and has some fancy-pants job in Boston.

First childhood memory: Back in Massachusetts circa 1972: playing Matchbox cars in the windowsill, catching ladybugs in the kitchen, and singing Karen Carpenter tunes at the top of my lungs. I used to read the Wall Street Journal, I swear. Or my parents read it to me. Somehow it did not turn me into a globe-trekking investor. At all.

Image result for 1970s snlGrown-up dreams: I wanted to be a writer for Mad magazine or Saturday Night Live (this was back in the late 70s when the show first arrived). I made up my own magazine with jokes and skits and called it COOL. As if! (I guess looking back what I secretly wanted to be was Tina Fey, yup) As a runner-up ambition, I also considered a lifetime vocation to teach. This was probably because I was so enamored of Helen Keller’s life accomplishments. She and Annie Sullivan were amazing people. Well, most teachers I know are. Until they fail you.

Obscure injuries: Knock wood–I have never broken an arm or a tibia or anything like that. But I do have three cool scars over my right eye from where my face collided with a wall; where I tripped over a chair into a desk (second grade–and hey, I was pushed!); and where a miniature golf club made unfortunate contact with my glasses–and eyeball.

My start as a reader: my mom used to read to me. I still have the Winnie the Pooh book that we read together–and I read it to my kids. Heffalumps are my favorite. Side note: when each of my kids were wee babes, the get-to-sleep top hit in our house, sung by me, was “House at Pooh Corner.”

First book: Hello, Rock. It is a best-selling opus about a rock. Except for the opus part. I still have the orginal book saved in a Ziploc bag. It might explain my collection of heart rocks, gathered in forests and from beaches I’ve visited over the years.

My real start as a writer: When I was in second and third grade I wrote very first story called Harry & Me at recess. I have no idea who Harry was supposed to be (many characters we write are inspired by real peeps in our life, but Harry was a mish-mash of everyone I knew). I remember crouching on these old cement stairs to write on the yellow lined paper. My best writing is done while hiding in plain sight.

Harry and Me! Third grade opus!

Most alarming fact about my childhood: I was really good in math. An old friend just reminded me of our days in math club. Math club?!! So, what happened to my grasp of complex numeric formulas? Those math days were numbered! Bwahaahaha! Actually though, all three of my kids are expert math students which is just plain weird.

Wannabe actress: I acted in whatever I could; whenever I could. When I was in high school, I won a Shakespeare recitation competition. A bunch of us competed NYC-wide; and the judging panel included legends Helen Hayes and Rosemary Harris! Can you say STAR STRUCK?! One of the biggest wows ever. I competed nationally in public speaking tournaments/ forensics competitions, too, performing in the category of Dramatic Interpretation. My piece was a section of the Marsha Norman play ‘Night Mother. It was intense, but alas, born a ham; always a ham. I loved it.

When acting and writing met: as a senior in high school I wrote and directed a short play called Lost Until Now.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer/illustrator for real? Two words: Judy Blume. And seven more words confirmed it: Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret

Some favorite books as a kid: Blueberries for Sal; Little House books; Charlotte’s Web; T.H. White Once and Future King; and any biography in the library.

Biggest stumbling block for being a writer: I was a pretty good speller but kind-of, sorta, okay TERRIBLE at grammar, comprehension, etc. which was a problem when those testing years kicked in. Did extra-credit all through high school to make my writing better. Still working at it. Daily.

Strangest talent: uncanny ability to retain useless trivia. Still waiting for the call from the producers of Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune.

My genes: My mom is a talented artist. I’m trying to convince her to start painting again. Me? I doodl

One nickname for my husband is Scooby. And I dedicated this first book to him!

e and I draw a mean stick figure.

College stuff: Graduated from Columbia College, Columbia University with a B.A. in English. I was the third class of women accepted at the school. It went co-ed in 1983. Most of my best college buds I met the very first week of college. We’re FFL: friends for life.

First job ever: Babysitting. Then assorted waitressing, coffee-making, switchboard-operating jobs.

First book ever: Scooby Doo’s Guide to Life

Favorite book(s) I’ve written: Whatever I am working on now.

Inspiration for my writing: eavesdropping on unsuspecting strangers; analyzing dreams; re-reading my old diaries; talking to my kids and their pals; reading anything from the newspaper to junk mail; and MY KIDS.

Best advice I ever got about writing: “Trust Laura and her perceptions of things.” My college adviser wrote that on a file card for me more than 25 years ago, I still have the coffee-stained and torn card framed on my desk.

Other random tidbit from my past: in high school I was featured in a Seventeen magazine spread. It was a makeover that I was photographed for throughout my senior year. Some fancy stylist chopped my locks and a photographer took pictures all over the city.

Not-so-great-habit: I get to bed too late. Although this comes in handy when I have a writing deadline.

My son’s idea of what I look like when I’m in writer mode.  That is supervillain-sort-of compliment on my super-suit, right?

Gets my writing motor humming:  rainstorms; highly competitive games of Scrabble and Boggle; blue skies and long walks; cooking magazines; our bird feeders; classical music; and hot coffee from our local shop where I often go to write (and hide).

In my spare time: What spare time?! Just wrote the book/play for the spring production for the theater group where my kids perform–part country music, part Broadway, and packed with cheesy cowboy jokes.

Dreaming big: would like to be able to hike up a very big mountain and camp at the top; play the violin in an orchestra; write a movie; and train as a gourmet cook. But truth is, I had a dream that I could be a mom and a writer. And I’m doing just that. Blessings counted.

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28 thoughts on “All About Me

  • Meds

    Hey Laura!

    WE all luuuuuuv u in India!!!!!
    You know, u should visit us sum tym here…
    YOu must have fans all over the world writing 2 u…
    but plz…plz..plz…….reply 2 this one comment plzzz…..
    cummm to India!!!!

  • Izzy

    I have read a book of yours called From The Files of Madison Finn (pretty sure thats wat its called……) and i LOVED it, was really creative and made me want to keep reading it!!

  • Olena

    hi laura! I love the powerpuff grils book and you now your like my famous person Lone olena:)(: 🙂 (: 🙂

  • Joanna

    oooh my goodness i have read every single book of yours in my school library!
    it is really good

  • cheyann

    omg i love your book from the files of madison finn and i mean LOVE thos book’s pls write more on from the files of madison finn pls and be the way you are my FAV writer/author pls write more from the files of madison finn plss 🙂

  • julia podlaha

    i just wanted to say that i love your madison finn books they are such good books when my friend introduced me to book number #3 and i loved it so much that i borrowed all the madison finn books that she had then started to buy them off line my self i love the books so much alltough i am not rading them in order bu they are very good books and i think that you should try 2 encurage the book stores to put the madison finn books back in the stores and i am also wondering if you are going to keep making the super edition books also wanted 2 say thank you for beaing such a good author right now i am in the middle of the madison finn book #4.
    Thank you for reading this
    Julia Podlaha:))))))

  • Adrián Córdova

    I’m Adrián Córdova and I’m in second grade. I ‘m using a book of Scooby-Doo adapted by you for a book report. I will write some details from your biography to my book report. I like the book very much. I’m from Puerto Rico.

  • MK

    Laura, I know it is 2011, but even I listen to Karen Carpenter!!
    She rocks and makes me feel like I am on the ‘top of the world’….and she must feel to you as if it is ‘yesterday once more’..!!

  • KHW

    hi laura i love the madison finn book their soooo good one question is there really gonna be a madison finn movie ive heard rumors and is debby ryan gonna play madison finn plz pretty plz answer this question

  • Emma Russo

    My name is Emma Russo and i’m 10 years old in 4th grade. ( well i’m actually 9 but i’m turning 10 in a week so it doesnt matter). I LUV your Madison Finn books. I’m really excited to see what happens in book #25 now that Hart is gone.

  • Helen

    Hi Laura
    Im a huge fan of Madison Finn and I can’t stop reading it!!
    Still trying to learn the Mad Chat Words but it’s not coming to me!!
    N e ways plz keep writing good books and I LUV U!!!!!

  • iLovemadisonfinnbooks:)

    i love ur madison finn books i have almost read all of them alot of people from my skool read them!!! u shoukd be proud of yourself!!!!!!:) i ♥ ur books thxs 4 being such a good author!!!:) ur the best!!!:)
    urs till the madison finn books,

    ps i am from colorado and i am 11 yrs old!!! and my fave color is PINK!!!;)

  • klaz

    Whatever happened to Madison’s aunt Mimi? And where did you get the inspiration for this character? ?

  • kaylin

    wow i just absolutely love your maddison finn books the AMAZING i just love them soooooo much i hope you decide to make many more and i wonder you sell them for 4.99 they are worth MUCH more there worth about 24.99 a book that good cant be sold for 4.99 anywho just love your maddison finn books hope you decide to make many more

  • Paola

    Hi Laura! I’m 16, and I still love your books! I discovered them when I was in fourth grade, and I loved how relatable the Madison Finn series was. I’ve decided to clean up my bookshelf this afternoon, and I remembered them. I have made it my mission to complete the entire series, but so far I only have 13. I was reading the comments your other fans posted, and I saw that in #25 Hart is no longer there. I have a lot of catching up to do! haha (OMG! What happened to him?)

  • Katie

    Hi Laura! I became a huge fan of your Madison Finn series when I was 10 years old. I’m 19 now, and I still have all the books. They bring back such good memories!! From the Files of Madison Finn was my favorite series ever for the longest time. All the situations and characters are so relatable, especially Madison. She was a lot like me when I was that age. Thank you so much for writing these wonderful books – they got me through middle school! 🙂

  • Madison Finn fan!!!

    I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your books actually a lot I never read but I just LUV you’re madison finn books. You HAVE to keep writing them, I mean for real I spend all my spare time when I don’t have to study to read it! OMG!!! Iv’e been reading them on epic I can’t get all of them because they are on amazon but I need to read all of them! Please put the rest in epic!!! Ive been really wanting to read Heart to Heart madison finn.!

  • Madison Finn fan!!!

    Luv your books I can’t read Heart to Heart cause it cost but I really wanna read it.!

  • Alyssa Tyra

    I just wanted to tell you what an inspiration you have been in my life. I started reading the Madison Finn books when I was 8, and they got me into reading! Now I’m about to turn 30 and I’m in a Writing MA program. Thank you for all the books you have written!