My mother is German and my father is Indian, which lent itself to an upbringing rich in international folk and fairytales. My biggest influences were the German stories in particular, which make a nice fertile ground for daydreaming. The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, even the Struwwelpeter served as a palette of colorful options by which to set my moral compass. Which, if you’ve read many German stories (especially the Struwwelpeter) is a little scary.

All through elementary, middle and high school, I wrote and wrote stories–I filled hundreds of notebooks with adventure stories that I illustrated as well. I had some wonderful teachers who encouraged me to read my stories out loud in class, and I learned the pleasure of making people feel welcome in a world I’d made up.

(The picture above is of me, age four, pretending to be a Sandman Moonman dinosaur hunter. I am sure this character is crayoned into a story somewhere.)

When I grew up, I still loved writing stories and illustrating them. Happily, I began doing both professionally. I hold a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I teach creative writing at St. Edward’s University, where I get to help my amazing students discover the magic of writing. I also teach English for Austin Community College, where I get to work with bright, wonderful, creative students.

I live and work in Austin, TX, which, if it weren’t for the sizzling sidewalks and dehydrated bugs, would be heaven on earth.