I was born in the Bronx (New York), but we moved to the Bay Area when I was two. I actually remember bits and pieces of driving across the country as a two year old with my parents. Currently, I live in Sacramento (CA), but I did most of my growing up in Oakland (CA), and that will always be my hometown.
Where and what did you study?
I received my undergraduate degree from Wellesley College (MA), my teaching credential from Holy Names University (CA) and my master’s in Children’s Literature from Hollins University (VA). They are all women’s colleges, and now my daughter attends another amazing woman’s college, Mills College (CA)! Female empowerment is a recurring theme in my education and my writing.
What were your biggest childhood influences?
My family. The Norton Family in the 70s and 80s would be a hilarious sitcom. Every one of us is a character. My sister does a great job describing us in her book, Lopsided, although I was not that much of a glamour queen! I do have to admit that I wanted to grow up as quickly as possible. My parents tried to tell me to slow down, but I didn’t listen until I hit forty and finally realized that getting older also means losing some of your closest friends and loved ones.
You’ve had jobs in education, the beauty industry, medicine. Would you call yourself a Renaissance Woman?
I think I was trying to distract myself from writing. It was easier to change careers than to sit down and get the stories out of my head and onto paper. Am I the only one who has used multiple career changes as an avoidance technique? Thank goodness I finally stopped fighting the inevitable! I feel so much better sharing my stories as a writer and speaker.