I am a child of the Arizona-Sonoran desert, the land of the majestic sahuaro cactus, roadrunners and cactus wrens, snakes and lizards. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and lived there from my birth through my college graduation. Because Tucson is in a valley surrounded by four mountain chains (the Santa Catalinas, Rincons, Tucson Mountains, and Santa Ritas) I always knew where I was by looking for the north-facing Santa Catalina Mountain range. Although I have lived in many other places (including Illinois, Iowa, Peru, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) the desert will always be my home. |
As a child, I loved to read, make up stories about my stuffed animals and dolls, ride my bike, and spend time outside. I sang in the Tucson Honor Chorus and church choirs, took piano lessons from the time I was seven, and
had interesting pets like horny toads and turtles as well as dogs. Books were always at the center of my life, and my mother used to joke that even though our family traveled to interesting places in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, I never saw any of them because I always had my nose in a book! She was right, but on one Canadian vacation I did get out of the car to take dozens of closeup shots of dogs and horses with an occasional glacier or waterfall in the background.
Saturday mornings were one of my favorite times because I had an hour piano lesson, then walked across the street to the Himmel Park Library where I returned the books checked out the
previous week, and took an hour to find the books I would read in the week to come. I still think libraries are one of the most fun places on earth (bookstores are also on the list). That weekly hour at the library helped form who I am today: a person who loves learning about and engaging with many people, cultures, and worlds who I first met in the pages of a book.
|In junior high I
wrote short stories and poems. On the long walk to school each day
my friends and I told each other book and movie plots, which though I didn't
realize it then was great practice for narrative voice and pacing (writing
concepts I didn't learn until much later). At Sahuaro High School I acted
in plays, participated in
Model United Nations, competed with the Speech Squad and served as a Student
Council officer. I took lots of art classes, loved Journalism and spent
hours on creative writing projects in English and Humanities classes.
In my free time I read voraciously. For Christmas one year I put together
a small book of my short stories and poetry with simple illustrations for family
At the University of
Arizona my favorite classes were Geology, Acting, Creative Writing, and
piano performance. I played volleyball every Sunday night with a group of
friends, sang in the church choir, hiked in the desert and mountains around
Tucson, spent two summers working at the
Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, and worked during the school years at two
different United Methodist churches as an assistant minister. I continued
to write every day in my journal. And of course I was always in the middle
of reading a good book. The day after I graduated from the U of A, I left
Tucson to spend seven months backpacking around Europe.
||Why did I leave the city I love? I wanted to explore the world, to travel, and after that, to attend Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary north of Chicago to train to become a United Methodist minister. While in seminary I continued to read and write. (Do you see a theme here?) For my "Theology and the Arts" class final project I published a collection of my short stories and poems which I illustrated with photographs I had taken while traveling in Europe.
In 1977 I married Larry Peacock, another minister, and after my seminary graduation in 1979 we moved to California where I pastored a church in southeast Los Angeles. I began to write articles and church youth curriculum. Our first child, Trinity, was born in 1981. Larry and I took a sabbatical year to Pendle Hill in 1984 where our son, Justus, was born, then returned to California to co-pastor Malibu United Methodist Church together. My first book was published in 1988. I wrote, contributed to or co-authored nine other books in the religious field. I began to write for children and young adults and rekindled my love for creating fiction. I retired from the ministry in 1999 to write fulltime. My first children's picture book, Shy Mama's Halloween was published in 2000. I have loved traveling to schools and libraries to meet young readers who care about my characters and encourage me to tell the stories that are in my head and heart. In 2008, Charlesbridge published my second picture book, Priscilla and the Hollyhocks. I continue to write picture books, middle grade and young adult novels and hope to publish many more books. I recently moved from California to Massachusetts, so I'm adapting to the beauty of four distinct seasons. And of course I am still reading and writing.