At a time in my life when I was first trying to become a published author and book illustrator - and about to give up because it was so hard - I bought a piece of Bazooka bubble gum. When I unwrapped the gum, the fortune written under the comic was: "Never compromise on your dreams." I cried. (I can be a very emotional person.) That fortune inspired me to keep working.
One year later I sold my first book and found this greeting card that still hangs pinned above my desk: "The stars exist that we might know how high our dreams may soar." (inside): "Congratulations on making your dream come true."
I love being a writer and illustrator. And with a degree in biology and a love of wild places, it makes sense to me that my books and artwork reflect the natural world. Even my "day jobs" (botanic garden tour guide and field leader, science teacher, writer for the Forest Service) and pets (tarantulas, snakes, rats, mice, hermit crabs) reflected nature.
I live with my family in the mountain foothills near Los Angeles where we share the back yard with native plants, deer, squirrels, bears, snakes, lizards, native birds and lots of insects and spiders.