I’m an author of YA books, a keeper of small cats, a fan of all things geeky, and a lover of the absurd. I was born and raised in the great snowy north of Minnesota, from which I have never yet managed to escape.
In my spare time, I read, play video games, and do everything within my power to annoy my friends. Parlor tricks include making an eerily accurate frog noise and the ability to recite Maurice Sendak’sOutside Over There from memory.
1) I’m left-handed.
Okay, this is hardly unique, since roughly a tenth of the population is left-handed, but we sinister southpaws like to bond, I’ve found. We commiserate over things like learning to write sideways, and the constant discomfort of handling scissors.
It’s also something I always notice about people. You know, if they’re writing. I don’t have some strange, psychic handedness-sensing ability. Sadly.
2) I have five siblings. Four older sisters and a younger brother.
In birth order, we go: Christina, Carrie, Angela, Ambur, me, and Christopher. Yep, I totally borrowed two of my siblings’ names for the Dark Star series—I’m sure I’ll manage to use the others elsewhere, someday!
3) I am just about the clumsiest person in the cosmos.
All right, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But not a whole lot. I am constantly running into things. Like walls, and my own door. When I still lived at home, me sliding down the stairs was at least a weekly event. In fact, my parents used to say, “She’ll never make it to her [second/third/etc.] birthday.”
Now, whenever my sister’s son has some accident or trips over his feet, she says, “He takes after his auntie.”
Given the fact that left-handed people are more likely to die in horrible freakish accidents involving power-tools, I think it’s a good idea that I never attempt home improvement.
4) Video games are kind of my life.
Okay, if you follow my twitter, you probably do know this one. But I really do love video games. I got started early—my father got us a Mario game when I was five—and it’s just been downhill since. But that’s all right: I’ve met a lot of great people through the video gaming community, including several of my closest friends.
When I have free time and need to de-stress, you can generally find me curled up with Harvest Moon or Skyrim or Mass Effect. (You know, running a farm, or crawling through tombs à la Indiana Jones, or saving the galaxy like a badass.)
5) I’m terrified of tornadoes.
For some reason, my number one fear in life? Tornadoes. I’ve had nightmares about them ever since I was little. In fact, there was a tornado warning the day I was born, and all the new mothers had to sit out in the hospital hallways with their babies. Granted, I was a newborn, and cannot possibly remember this, but I like to say it started early.
Here in Minnesota (and perhaps elsewhere; I’m not sure), the cities will test the tornado sirens at 1:00 pm the first Wednesday of every month. This has occurred as long as I can remember. And yet every first Wednesday at 1:00 pm, I have a brief moment of panic when those sirens go off.
6) When I was fourteen, I wrote a novel on my computer entirely in bright blue Comic Sans. A 160k-word novel. So if you ever find yourself annoyed by the many, many tumblr posts involving Comic Sans, just think: at least it’s not an entire novel.
(And to any of you out there currently writing your novels in Comic Sans: more power to you! Just know that your sisters are never, ever going to let you live it down.)
7) Also when I was fourteen, I created my very own country. It was mobile. It existed in a five-foot radius around me. I was, quite obviously, Queen, but I did name one of my cats Prime Minister.
I tried to charge taxes, but alas, no one ever paid up.
8) And speaking of pets. When I was in fifth grade, my pet turtle decided to hitchhike a ride to school with me.
I wasn’t terribly tidy in grade school (or ever, if I’m being honest), and one of my habits was leaving my backpack on the floor of my bedroom. I’d drop it there once I got home in the afternoon, and just let it rest wherever it fell.
I also had a pet turtle that roamed my bedroom freely. You can see where this is heading. One day, I arrived at school, stuck my hand in my backpack to take out my notebooks… and found a turtle instead.
We had a substitute teacher that day, and she was not at all happy about the unexpected and uninvited reptile addition to the classroom.
(Of note: the turtle still lives with my mother. We’re pretty sure she’s going to outlive us all.)
(And yeah, we all pretty much just call her “the turtle.”)
Yep, I was a thumb-sucker. (I dragged around a baby blanket, too; I was pretty much Linus.) And it took me a long time to outgrow it.
The way I finally broke the habit? An orthodontist gave my mother the odd (but effective) idea to place a tongue-depressor along the inside of my arm and wrap it with an Ace bandage, making it so that I couldn’t bend my elbow when I slept. Sure, it looked really weird, but it worked.
10) Once, when my best friend was feeling very down, I wrote her an email detailing the many embarrassing events of my life in order to cheer her up. I won’t relate them all here, but this is the big one:
When I was in third grade, the boy I had a crush on recited an entry from my diary to me. A diary entry about him.
This is one of those memories that is so crazy that sometimes I actually wonder if I just dreamed it, but no—it really happened. His older sister was at my house during a game of truth or dare, and, well.
I totally lied and claimed it was about “a different Peter.” Did he believe me? Who knows. We were, like, eight. But let me tell you: I did not write in a diary again for a very long time.