A. waitress, bartender, hostess, babysitter, standardized test question author
A. writing fiction
A. I went to high school in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at Lourdes High School and college in Madison at the University of Wisconsin.
A. Sam Cooke
A. Almost Famous
A. The West Wing
A. Enjoy each day with tea, dancing, and friends.
A. People need a purpose.
A. Perfect happiness is a day in which I fall in love, or create something I'm proud of. Just regular happiness is giving back, dancing, laughing, and eating expensive cheese. Oh, and noodling around on the Internet with no deadlines.
A. Right here in Madison, with the option to jet off any time it blizzards.
A. the times I could have been kinder
A. I'd be an elite lindy hopper or an excellent pianist
A. getting The Teashop Girls published
A. generosity and humor
A. I want to be writer and philanthropist with a long career.
A. I laugh easily.
A. Harriet the Spy, Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice, Larry Darrell from The Razor's Edge, and Wesley from The Princess Bride
A. Captain Hook
A. dancing, reading, IMing
A. White House senior staff
A. wit, curiosity, compassion
A. the World's Greatest Sandwich from Mickey's, or guacamole. That's a tough one.
A. Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sarah Vowell, Richard Yates, Aaron Sorkin, Meg Cabot, Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, Irvin Yalom, Elizabeth Gilbert, Judy Blume, Louise Fitzhugh
A. Day dream, take it one day at a time, and break up a big project into little parts.
A. I was vacationing in Florida in the summer of 2005. The small town outside of Orlando where my dad and brother live has a tea shop called Sherlock's. It was when I was sitting there, on its outdoor patio, that the title The Teashop Girls came to me. I'd been a freelance writer for many years by then and always enjoyed taking my laptop to work in coffee and tea shops and cafés. It seemed natural to write about such a lively--yet comforting and peaceful--setting. I remembered how voraciously I read books when I was 10, 11, 12 years old and how the books I loved at that age were warm escape from everyday cares. I wanted to create that kind of world for my readers, and when I looked around Sherlock's that day, I knew I had found my inspiration. As the book grew, many things that I believe in found their way onto its pages. I've worked for a local business in Madison for many years and knew that supporting small shops was something that I felt passionately about and wanted to explore in my storytelling. It was so right to make The Steeping Leaf, the main setting of The Teashop Girls, a family-run business. Also, I've always been a person who needs quiet time in life for reflection and relaxation. It was important for me to create a world in my fiction that honored this trait. So many young adult novels are focused on stressful social issues, glamour, or labels and brand names. I wanted my story to be warm, a little old-fashioned, and centered on things in life that matter most...friends, family, good food, and community. I'm proud to say that The Teashop Girls is about all of these things.