The Short Version
I was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the youngest of three kids. After college, I moved to New York City where I started writing and editing for children at Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, and other companies. In 1997, I landed my dream job as an editor at Nickelodeon Magazine, where I eventually became the editor-in-chief. These days I am a full-time freelance writer and editor, producing books that include Pranklopedia, Frightlopedia, and kids’ non-fiction. I live in Beacon, N.Y. with my boyfriend and cat, both of whom I regularly torture by playing Cajun accordion.
The Long Version
I grew up in a household filled with books, art, and classical music and my parents tried to imbue my brothers and me with “high culture” at an early age. They dragged us through the Museum of Modern Art in New York City before we knew how to say, “Where’s the café?” and read A Child’s Book of Chaucer to us at bedtime. More alarmingly, they refused to buy a TV until I was in third grade.
Luckily, I was a resourceful child and I found ways to fill the gaping holes in my cultural upbringing. I kept my radio tuned to a Motown station 24/7; I binged on I Love Lucy reruns at a neighbor’s house; and I read voraciously according to my own tastes—everything from sports biographies to Mad Magazine to my father’s copy of Death of a Salesman, which I didn’t understand but tried to read anyway.
Sensing that my parents were a bit too serious, I started pulling pranks on them when I was about six. I did the classic salt-and-sugar switcheroo and moved on to the dead-finger-in-a-box. My efforts went unappreciated, but I gained skills I would need later on when I started writing pranks for a living at Nickelodeon Magazine.
I had several career goals early in life, starting with supermarket checkout clerk, followed by bus driver and ballet dancer. The latter became an obsession for a few years, culminating in a starring role as Clara in The Nutcracker, followed by an early retirement. While I liked to write, and spent hours creating elaborately illustrated reports for school, it wasn’t until I graduated from college that I considered making a living with words. I got my first job in New York City at a magazine about folk music and soon realized that magazines were my calling. I loved brainstorming new ideas every month; I loved interviewing people; and I loved telling stories in pictures and words.
In 1997, I landed my dream job at Nickelodeon Magazine, where my dual passions for quirky non-fiction and irreverent humor found the perfect home. I interviewed such luminaries as Kofi Annan, Miss Manners, and world-champion stone-skipper Kurt Steiner, while also writing pranks and parodies with the funniest bunch of editors I ever met.
These days, I continue to tell stories in words and images, mostly in books, like Pranklopedia, Frightlopedia, and Beach Art. I love writing about diverse subjects—everything from the history of chocolate and vanilla to the life of architect Antoni Gaudi (high culture!). I live in Beacon, N.Y. with my boyfriend and cat and travel whenever I can to two favorite places: the mountains of Vermont and the bayous of Louisiana.