Without a doubt, scientists have the best job in the world. Many travel to places most people only dream about, and see and do remarkable things. Occasionally, scientists will take authors with them on their expeditions. I am one such lucky author.
I’ve been fortunate to work with scientists all over the world, from warm tropical oceans to Antarctica’s frozen interior, from mountain peaks to the deep ocean floor in a research submersible. Many of my books have grown out of these incredible experiences.
People often ask me if there was a book that influenced my decision to become a writer. The answer is, yes, Alice in Wonderland. My mother had an old copy of Alice, with original illustrations by John Tenniel. I read Alice’s amazing story over and over again, and each time I finished, I wished I could have adventures like she did, adventures that would bring me face to face with all sorts of fascinating creatures in strange new worlds.
In a very real way, I got my wish.
Science was the key that opened my doorway to adventure, and to writing. In college, I earned advanced degrees in both biological science and graphic design. I briefly wrote college biology textbooks but soon started writing nonfiction for kids, mostly books with a nature or environmental focus. I began contacting scientists doing research in these fields and was invited to join all sorts of expeditions, on land and at sea.
My firsthand experiences doing field work, and those of the scientists I work with, form the foundation for many of my books. I especially like to write about new discoveries in science, and to take my readers into strange new worlds where they come face to face with all sorts of fascinating creatures — just like Alice.
In parallel with writing science-focused nonfiction for the school, library, and trade markets, I have also written dozens of science-content-based books tied to grade school and middle school curricula. In this area, I’ve worked primarily with National Geographic Learning, Sally Ride Science, Millmark Education, and Core Knowledge.
I’ve lived and worked in many different places over the years. Currently I reside in South Dakota. I have two Bengal cats, Roberto and Tomas, who lounge on my desk while I write but never, ever, walk on the keyboard.