All about me...


My mother says I first announced my intention of becoming a writer at the age of three.  She still has the book of poems I dictated, odes to various dolls and stuffed animals.  (Favorite line: "Kara is hard but I love her anyway.")  The truth is I can't remember I time when I wasn't a writer, though there were times I was too busy to write.  (Favorite elementary school line, from a medieval fantasy: "He was overjoyed to find his sister, but distressed to lose his horse.")

I grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, completely happy whenever I was home with my parents and two younger brothers, and completely miserable at school.  I was "the brain" and pathologically shy to boot; the methods of torment changed as I grew, but I remained everyone's favorite victim until I left public school.   Out of school, I read and read, and wrote; sang in choruses; learned piano; put on shows with my brothers and cousins; made friends at hebrew school; and was happy, except for my social anxiety.

When I was nine my grandmother gave me Jane Eyre, and I can remember reading the Red Room scene for the first time and thinking:  this is what books should be!  At ten she gave me Anne of Green Gables, and I thought: this is how people should be.  I read all the L.M. Montgomery books in print, and I worked hard to shape myself according to her wisdom: allow small bits of beauty to make you happy; find the kindred spirits and don't care what the rest of them say; hope and dream and feel as intensely as you can, because "the flying is worth the thud."  These days people think of Montgomery's works as books for little girls, but during WWI, soldiers used to take Anne to the front.  Emily was always the character I identified with most, because she's a writer, and unpopular at school, and as I grew I realized that the "grown-up" Emily book (Emily's Quest) deals with clinical depression and an abusive relationship -- so it's not all kid stuff!  Those are the books that shaped me, though not necessarily the ones that shaped my writing.  My favorite speculative series growing up was The Dark is Rising.  I loved it so much that after reading it for the first time, I immediately read the entire 5-book series aloud to my younger brother.

I began "writing lessons" with a local author and English teacher at the age of eleven.  Once a  week, I came to his house with a few typewritten pages and he ripped them apart with a red pen.  I owe John Gould a huge debt for that wonderful early training both in fiction writing and in receiving criticism.

I went to high school at Philips Academy Andover, and then to college at Yale.  I made amazing friends, studied incredible books, did too much homework, performed community service, sang, and didn't have time to write.  In between high school and college I participated in City Year Boston, a full-time community service program that is now a branch of Americorps.  I worked in a fourth grade classroom in a failing school and loved it so much that I decided to become a teacher. ( I never stopped wanted to write, but I thought I'd better have something to pay the bills, too. )  So, I ended up majoring in English and completing the Teacher Prep program.

After graduation, I found a job teaching eighth grade English in the Newton Public School.  I loved being in the classroom, but eventually had to face the fact that I was too disabled to teach full-time.  Wait!  Did you miss the part where I explained my disability? 

No.  It's called avoidance.  I have a bad case of a chronic pain syndrome called fibromyalgia, a disorder involving the muscles, nerves, and brain.  So, I've been in pain every minute for the last twenty years, and suffering from chronic fatigue, too.

Since I could only work part-time, I expanded my options by earning a M. Ed. in Special Education from B.C.  I worked on a YA fantasy novel entitled The Call during this time, too.  In 2004 I married a wonderful man named Vitaly, and soon we had a daughter, Sasha, and a son, Natan.

Now I take care of my kids and have some time to write, too.  I wrote a few short stories (see the Publications tab) before committing to "Reckless Space Pirates."  Since the game was released, I've started a new novel, temporarily called Equilibrium, with time travel and aliens and linguistic geeks who save the world.  I have a wonderful writers group (Spacecrafts) to provide encouragement and criticism.  In another year and a half, Natan will start kindergarten, and I'll be able to produce more.

Life is good!  I've been lucky and I know it.  Thanks for reading!