I was born in St. Louis, Mis­souri. I went to catholic school until 4th grade when we moved to New York.

This is my kinder­garten school pho­to. My mom gave me a bad perm the night before. I cried. I still wasn’t entire­ly over it by the next day for this pic­ture, except I was promised a piece of can­dy. You can see my inner con­flict between crab­bi­ness and smil­ing for candy.

Cynthia as a child
Cyn­thia as a child

This was my favorite toy dur­ing my Catholic school years. All my pri­ma­ry school teach­ers were nuns and I loved them—one espe­cial­ly, who was a cat lady, or I guess you would say, a cat nun. It was the begin­ning of my admi­ra­tion for teachers.

I loved to read and was a huge fan of all mys­ter­ies. I devoured Nan­cy Drew, The Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls, and even­tu­al­ly the works of Agatha Christie and a  long list of oth­er adult mys­tery writers.

I wrote my first mys­tery in third grade. It fea­tured twin sis­ters who found a clue in a pen­cil box. It was pret­ty bad, but that didn’t stop me.

My favorite doll
my favorite doll

We moved to New York after I fin­ished fourth grade. Every week­end my fam­i­ly would get in the sta­tion wag­on and go to Jones Beach on Long Island. In the sum­mers we also went to Maine, to the towns of For­tunes Rocks and Bid­de­ford Pool. On Jones Beach and the rocky beach­es of Maine, my mom made us wear squishy plas­tic shoes because of the razor clams and horse­shoe crabs. We called the shoes jellies.


The Maine water was so cold that our legs turned red. We didn’t care. We loved it. After sail­ing and swim­ming, we got French fries, blue­ber­ry pie, whoop­ie pies and Mox­ie from Hattie’s café, and we got lob­ster from the pound. There was an old con­vent on the point that we made up sto­ries about. It was called the Marie-Joseph Academy.

the Marie-Joseph Academy
the Marie-Joseph Academy

When I was in sixth grade, we moved from New York to near Prince­ton, New Jer­sey. The biggest attrac­tion was a bowl­ing alley and many of the kids were on Sat­ur­day leagues. I got a red bowl­ing ball that Christ­mas and it was my favorite thing.

red bowling ball

In high school, I wrote a col­umn in the school news­pa­per about things to do on the week­end. It includ­ed con­certs, sport­ing events, and art gallery shows. We had moved to Min­neso­ta by that time. There was no ocean but there were many, many lakes. It was also the home of Bet­ty Crock­er, and you could vis­it the test kitchens and get free cake. 

When we arrived in Min­neso­ta it was ‑27 degrees and peo­ple talked a lot about the Viking Foot­ball team and quar­ter­back Fran Tarkenton.

Fran Tarkenton

I also loved draw­ing. I would take packs of paper and draw house plans on them and fill in the fur­ni­ture and small peo­ple. Then I’d make up a sto­ry about the peo­ple in that house. This may have been the pre­cur­sor to my work in dra­ma in high school and col­lege. I liked set design, play­writ­ing, and flam­boy­ant char­ac­ters. I act­ed in sev­er­al plays includ­ing Flan­nery O’Connor’s Wise Blood.

Wise Blood
Wise Blood

The stu­dent actor on the left is Sam Ander­son. Since col­lege he has had a long and sig­nif­i­cant career in TV and Movies—Air­plane, Star Trek, For­est Gump … I think they call this a “brush” with celebrity.

After col­lege, I went to law school and prac­ticed law for 25+ years. Dur­ing that time we lived in Min­neso­ta, Hawaii, North Car­oli­na and again back to Min­neso­ta. The whole time I prac­ticed law, I fid­dled around writ­ing children’s books.

In Hawaii, I became involved in the Soci­ety of Children’s Book Authors and Illus­tra­tors (SCBWI) This orga­ni­za­tion is a rich resource for children’s book writers.

I served in a lead­er­ship role along with Tam­my Yee who is a bril­liant, award-win­ning, Hawai­ian author and illustrator.

Tammy Yee author and illustrator
Tam­my Yee author and illustrator

I’ve always loved art. I haven’t stud­ied it but I’ve admired it great­ly and tried var­i­ous media over the years. I even bought shoes with art on them, Klimt’s Girl­friends.

After Hawaii, we moved to North Car­oli­na. All of us, includ­ing Milo and Sun­ny and Har­ry the cat. Milo and Sun­ny had been raised in Hawaii and they’d nev­er seen squirrels.

Below you’ll find a pho­to of their first day in Squir­rel-land. They were shocked. Maybe a lit­tle overwhelmed.

Klimt shoes
Milo and Sunny and Cynthia
Milo and Sun­ny and Cynthia

After a few years of meet­ing good friends and eat­ing Car­oli­na bar­be­cue, we moved back to Min­neso­ta where Sun­ny and Milo grew elder­ly and we sad­ly said good­bye to them. We were so grief-strick­en that we thought we would nev­er have anoth­er dog ever again, but along came Rue. Who is won­der­ful and lov­able, and he’s won some dog shows!

Rue is won­der­ful and lovable

Rue joined our fam­i­ly when the “cat boys” were just start­ing to rule the house. Cos­mo and Casper came to live with us from a farm in Iowa. Cos­mo gets his own drink from the faucet. Casper is regal and expects the water bowl served on a tray.

Cosmo and Casper
Cos­mo and Casper

I also like all things Viking. I have stud­ied Viking archae­ol­o­gy and lit­er­a­ture. I have been to Alexan­dria, MN to see the Kens­ing­ton Rune stone and of course the stat­ue of a Viking.

Big Ole in Alexandria, MN
Big Ole in Alexan­dria, MN

I have writ­ten mid­dle grade mys­tery nov­els, mid­dle grade con­tem­po­rary nov­els, pic­ture books, adult mys­tery short sto­ries, and Young adult non-fic­tion. Some authors stick to one genre, but my brain jumps all over the place to fol­low the diverse things that inter­est me.

I like to sup­port artists and acquire their works, too. One of my favorite pieces is a pho­to­graph of a goat. The name of the piece Bliss. I think it is a per­fect name. It makes me so hap­py when I look at it.

Bliss by Jeffrey Storm
Bliss by Jef­frey Storm

When I am not work­ing on new books, I love read­ing, play­ing games with friends, cook­ing and bak­ing, watch­ing movies and TV, tak­ing walks in the woods, danc­ing, look­ing at art, and going to per­for­mances. I rarely do only one thing at a time for very long. I read while I’m watch­ing TV, play games with music on, and … you get the idea.

Here are a cou­ple pic­tures of my group the Game Knights. We laugh, tell sto­ries, play games and we are all writer and play­ers in the kidlit com­mu­ni­ty. And yes, we are competitive!

The Game Knights
The Game Knights

As to cre­at­ing books, some writ­ers like to have a plot out­line before they start writ­ing, oth­ers like to start writ­ing and see what hap­pens. I do a lit­tle bit of both, except when I’m writ­ing a mys­tery, I know who did it before I type Chap­ter 1.

Social media

Don’t miss any news!

Receive noti­fi­ca­tions by e‑mail when there’s book news to share.