"It is good people who make good places." Black Beauty
A long, long time ago in a pasture far away….
Even with a family heritage of poets and writers, I never thought I’d ever be one. There just didn’t seem to be time left in raising three very active girls.
Born near Columbus Ohio, but raised on a remote farm in New Berlin, Wisconsin, my parents made a bold move by packing up our farmhouse and six kids (four brothers and sister) and leaving the mountainous snowdrifts in Wisconsin to towering palm trees in Largo, Florida. Talk about cultural shock. I grew up wearing cowboy hats and boots to …
… fake eyelashes and high-heels in the Miss Largo Pageant.
I’ve spent my life raising children, but I am a late comer to writing for children. I turned to SCBWI, Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, to help me perfect whatever craft and storytelling abilities I may have had. I attended writing and poetry conferences, worked with mentors, and read, read, read. Books for children, I discovered, had changed since my girls were young.
I am an active member of the Florida State Poets Association, still serving these many years now as as Co-Editor for their annual FSPA Anthology.
My work has received SCBWI Florida Rising Kite Awards, and I am a proud recipient of the SCBWI Karen and Phil Cushman Award for Finding Moon Rabbit, a historical novel about a young girl sent to the Heart Mountain Internment Camp during WWII who wants to be a Girl Scout. (Thirteen members of our family were sent to camps.)
Delving into my children’s Japanese American heritage, I have discovered that our differences can define us, but it is our similarities that binds us together. In addition to this novel, which will debut in July, 2022, I love writing Narrative Non-Fiction and verse novels on little known historical events where cultures and people come together.
I live with my family in the Tampa Bay Area.
More from jc.
Why the horse theme?
After a tragic event when I was young, I came away pretending all the time that I must be a horse. My parents assured me I wasn’t crazy, just crazy about horses.
But Anna Sewell proved to me that I wasn’t the only one who thought like a horse. Black Beauty raises awareness against society’s everyday acceptance of cruel acts against those who can’t speak for themselves.
I like to think my stories are about how kindness and respect overcomes mistreatment.
I traded in my imaginary four hooves for two feet a long time ago, but it didn’t stop me from visiting other pastures.
I’ve been corralled in six states (Ohio and Florida twice),
trotted across the U.S. from the Atlantic to Pacific,
jumped over the pond to Europe, the Azores,
and flown the Pacific to whinny Aloha!
from emerald Hawaiian peaks.
My imaginings took me to wondering about the people whose feet walked the ground before me. What were they like? What were their struggles? What were their triumphs?
I also like to think that knowing your fellow travelers, past and present helps to better understand ourselves.
An unexpected happy ending.
Coming full circle, I traded my high-heels for riding boots and chaps. This is my very own black beauty, Shadow Dancing.