I grew up in a southern Ohio river town — Portsmouth — and that small town atmosphere has affected most of my writing.
My mother, widowed when I was three years old, taught school for forty-nine years in that same small town, and her major (indeed, only) extravagance was books. I grew up with, and quickly adopted, the notion that reading was the only way to fill up every scrap of loose time you could snatch.
I had the benefit, as well, of a wide variety of aunts and uncles and cousins, plus the extended family so common to small town life — the neighbors, friends, teachers, bus drivers, mailmen, local heroes and local neâer-do-wells, and even a local blacksmith...great stuff to feed the imagination.
I began writing very early — poems, plays, stories — and just never quit. I attended local schools and then, being both book-struck and stage-struck, found a college — Allegheny College — where I could satisfy both passions.
I've been a short story writer, with some forty-fifty stories in McCall's, Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook, etc.; a playwright; an occasional poet, and finally and most happily, an author of children's books...happily, because there's no greater audience than boys and girls who read books and demand that those books be the most exciting, the most mysterious, the most touching, the funniest...the Best.
I live and write in a suburb of Philadelphia, and I have two daughters — Carolyn, who is a nurse, and Marjorie, who is a sixth grade teacher and at home now with my grandchildren Tomas and Marcos, and all these people read books like crazy!