I was born in Ticonderoga, my mother’s hometown, but grew up in the small towns of Hadley and Lake Luzerne, NY. I graduated from Hadley-Luzerne High School in 1995, then received a Liberal Arts degree from Adirondack Community College, Queensbury, NY, in 1998. After living for almost ten years in the nearby city of Saratoga Springs, I moved up here to Ticonderoga in 2005. A year later I bought my first house here, not far from the family home that my grandfather built. So, I’ve always lived in or near the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park, where “Stormwind of the North Country,” "Secrets of the North Country," and "The Forests I Called Home" take place.
Like the characters from most of my stories, I grew up in an ordinary working-class family, with parents who taught me to value the simple things in life. I was an only child until age fifteen. Though not rich, my childhood was filled with books, music, and pets, piano lessons and Girl Scouts, fishing trips and my first horse, a retired Standardbred pacer. My favorite times were the yearly week-long vacations at Putnam Pond State Campground, which is now only a fifteen-minute drive from my house. Those trips were a treat that I looked forward to all year. I try to show that small-town lifestyle in my books.
I am single, with a shaggy little dog named Summer, three cats: Honey, Rio, and Tom, an aquarium of goldfish, and horse, Timmy, a leopard Appaloosa gelding recently given to me by a friend after the death of my old horse, Solomon. I look forward to sharing new adventures with him for years to come.
Besides writing, my hobbies are reading, drawing and crafts, designing houses, gardening, fishing, music, and photography. During the summer I like paddling my canoe on local creeks and lakes, sailing my Snark sailboat, and camping and hiking with my dog. I love both the mountains and the ocean, and enjoy vacationing in Cape Cod, MA, the east coast of Florida, and Monhegan Island, Maine.
Solomon1980(?) - October 13, 2016
Today I write this with a heavy heart to say that the weakness of old age had finally overtaken Solomon's body, and today he was put to rest at the peaceful farm where he spent the last eleven years of his life.
He wasn't a show horse. He didn't have the best training in the world, and his early life was a mystery. But...he was a friend. Through the years, he brought joy to a lot of people, gave countless small children their first pony rides, and was a constant presence in my life for eighteen years. How quickly the time has passed since that day when I first saw him in 1998, the answer to my teenage dream. From our earliest explorations for hours and miles, to the walks around the block in his later years...he was a fearless road horse who knew his job well, and always brought me home safe.
Old age had weakened his body, but never diminished his soul or gentle spirit. Everyone who met him loved him. In his own way, he made a small corner of the world a happier place.
Somewhere right now, he's running free, young and strong again, and I know we'll be reunited someday. But until then, I just want to say to him, thank you. Thanks for all the lessons taught and learned, the miles traveled and memories made. Thank you for your friendship. And rest in peace until we meet again.
Author Influences, and The Story Behind Stormwind of the North Country:
I began writing Stormwind of the North Country as a horse-crazy nine-year-old. It was just a simple short story about a girl who rescued a beautiful horse from its abusive owner. That short story grew to fill two tattered notebooks with missing covers and doodles in the margins. As a kid, I was so proud of that story: my first manuscript! Originally called Me, My Brother, and American Courage, (American Courage was the horse's name), and later You Can Call Me Kat, it turned out to be the earliest draft of Stormwind. At the time, I had no idea that that simple story would stick with me through my high school and college years, and beyond, as the story evolved and added new characters and situations. Over the years, later drafts filled more raggedy notebooks and loose-leaf papers, then moved on to typewriter-written pages and computer files.
Although all the people and events are fictional, writing “Stormwind” was a chance to revisit some favorite places of my childhood. I spent several of my pre-teen years living in a log cabin in the woods, along a winding mountain road frequented by logging trucks, like the road in the story. (You can read about it in The Forests I Called Home.) Kat's farmhouse, and the nearby cabin with the wild roses, were based on real places I'd admired when I went exploring up that road on my first horse.
This farm in Hadley, NY was the inspiration for Kat's house in Stormwind of the North Country.
The fictional town of "Sprucewood" is based on the small towns where I grew up. And Kat and Randy's lean-to at the pond is just like the hundreds you find today, built all along the Adirondack hiking trails.
In Stormwind of the North Country, the characters Kat and Randy camp for a month in an Adirondack lean-to like this one. It is on Oxshoe Pond, in the Pharaoh Wilderness Area.