Welcome to Kateywrites, my spot to share with you the things that matter to me – like motherhood, changing careers, children’s books and probably some ridiculous rants like how hard it is to be a 6′ tall woman in a 5’8″ world.
I write children’s picture and chapter books – and I am represented by the incredible Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.
I love exploring different techniques, styles and genres to match a theme and to build an immersive experience for the reader. My debut picture book, Grandmother Thorn, illustrated by Rebecca Hahn, was named a 2018 Anna Dewdney Read Together Honor Book by the Children’s Book Council. Publishers Weekly calls the folk-tale-style Grandmother Thorn “a visually arresting reminder that compromise has its benefits.”
I am also the author of Magnolia Mudd And The Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe, illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti (Sterling, 2018.) My next book, Be A Maker, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic, is scheduled for release by Carolrhoda in May 2019.
When not writing for children, I contribute to websites and blogs about books, reading, parenting, and writing – like All the Wonders, Nerdy Bookclub, KidLit411, STEAM-powered Family, Imagination Soup, and Multilingual Parenting, amongst others. I present at writers’ conferences and education summits, but much prefer any opportunity to read, play and create with children. I am most at home in libraries, bookshops, camps and museums full of curious kids.
I have loved writing stories and poetry from a very young age, and I was an avid reader from the time I could sound out words on road signs. In high school, I was admitted to a magnet school that focused on teaching advanced levels of math and science, and I excelled there. I was driven by that success, by ambition and by well-meaning guidance to pursue a career in science, despite my love of the arts. I never thought of “the artsy part” of me as something that could be anything more than a fun hobby.
After a 10+ year career as a physical therapist – years that were incredibly fulfilling and exciting – I gave birth to my 3rd daughter. I realized that I couldn’t keep working full time at a job that was emotionally and physically taxing while giving my family the kind of love, attention and energy I felt they deserved. As hard as it was to leave my coworkers and clients (some of whom I’d been treating for many years!) I became a stay at home mom.
My littlest is now 8, and I have been grateful for (almost) every moment I’ve had at home with my girls. They have been years filled with hilarity and growth and learning for all of us. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to spend this time with them. But the time away from my busy, high pressure job also gave me a space to think about my career choices, and about the part of me I wasn’t giving a chance.
But now, I am giving myself that chance. The chance to be a “real” writer. The chance to see my books on the shelf. The chance to touch children’s hearts with my words. The chance to share the tools I use to inspire a love of reading in my kids with so many other caregivers.
I am already so many things (PT, mother, wife, chauffeur, general contractor, tutor, guinea pig groomer and sloppy seamstress among them) that it has taken significant changes in my lifestyle to convince myself that this “author thing” is for real.
The book deals have helped. Signing with an agent has helped. So have conferences, writer friends, and my work contributing to the incredible All the Wonders website, home of The Children’s Book Podcast and the Picturebooking Podcast.
In light of all these changes, this blog is a great way to keep me grounded. Grounded in what I really love about my life – the fact that I am blessed to have the time and energy and support to play and laugh and READ with my ids every day – all while writing books that other parents will someday read aloud with their kids. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I’d love to have your curiosity, support and input along my journey. Hope it makes you smile!