I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 24th, 1961. New Orleans was a great place to grow up in then still family-friendly but with a ready acceptance of eccentricity and the darker side of life. Even when I was little, I knew that New Orleans was a special place. The cemeteries were wonderful, and we explored the ones we could walk to. I still love cemeteries, and try to visit them when I'm traveling. Mardi Gras was a huge event every year, and my mother made us terrific costumes. My parents had interesting friends who were artists and potters and writers, and we would visit them in the French Quarter.
I graduated from Loyola University, in New Orleans, with a degree in Russian. In my mid-twenties I moved back to New York and got a job as an assistant at Random House. I worked for the head of the Juvenile Audio and Video department, and was surrounded by children's books and editors and people who read as much as I did. I learned so much, and decided I could write a children's book too. So I locked the door of my office (somehow I had an actual office, which was unusual) every day for an hour at lunch, for ten days, and I wrote a book.
And I sold it and it got published.