I’m a writer, collage-maker, Pitch Wars alum, Write Team Mentorship Program mentor, and member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). My grandmother, short story author M.J. Amft, gave me creative writing lessons back when I was middle-grade-aged, and I still read her letters when I need a jolt of motivation and inspiration. My grandfather Robert Amft, mother, and father are all visual artists who encouraged me to follow the artist’s path. I’ve learned to appreciate the places that path has taken me, the Sisyphean along with the sublime.
Born in Chicago but raised in and around Myrtle Beach, the question of whether or not I’m a real Southerner remains controversial. But I still live in South Carolina with my husband and our trio of accumulated cats. I’ve survived some strange and terrible things, including (but not limited to): cancer, celiac disease, osteopenia, a hip replacement, and bites from both a copperhead and (worse, in some ways) a stink bug. By day, I work as director of institutional research at a university, crunching numbers and analyzing data to help faculty, staff, and administrators improve student learning.
My middle-grade novels are standalone contemporary fantasies set in a similar universe (the Myrtleverse, as one of my critique partners dubbed it). Some things that always seem to work their way into my writing are creative kids, non-human characters, unlikely friendships, and puns (sorry not sorry).
Here’s an aesthetic for my latest novel, featuring an original analog collage I made of its antagonist, Leonardough.
Want to know more? Read my Pitch Wars Success Story interview with my mentors.
See my Pitch Wars showcase entry.