I knew I wanted to be a writer when I learned to read, a plan that was solidified when I discovered the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my first literary hero. I received my first rejection letter at age 12, and my first acceptance letter—and payment—at age 17 for an article about one of the first female firefighters in New York City. Though my goal was to write fiction, the nonfiction world drew me early. I have always been inspired by interviewing people to learn their stories, and then sharing them with readers. That is why I have worked as a journalist for over 30 years. Being someone who also appreciates order—-my desk is rarely messy because neatness keeps me calm—-I have also had a long career as an editor. I'm constantly discovering typos on everything from road signs to cereal boxes. These skills serve me well as a magazine publisher and as a journalism professor. When I'm not reading for my career, I read for pleasure; in fact, it’s my favorite activity. And though I enjoy contemporary adult fiction, I believe YA books are some of the best literature available. I also like to dance and sing—-though only with people who love me no matter what—-and I have a deep appreciation for cats and chocolate. I am also the wife of a high school English teacher and the mother of two wonderful young women. A pile of books by everyone’s bedside is a family trait. My favorite place to be, where I go to regroup, is the beach in Northport, NY, where I spent the happiest days of my childhood.