On one of my yearly trips with two high school girlfriends, our innkeeper took us to an Amish family’s home for dinner. There I met a fourteen-year-old Amish girl named Rebecca, who told me of her love for reading. I couldn’t get that girl out of my mind, and I imagined what it would be like to take her home with me. Eventually those imaginings became my first novel, A World Away. Every subsequent year when I would meet those same friends in a different city, I’d bring the pages I’d written the year before and read aloud to them at the end of each day.
I earned BSW and MSW degrees from the University of Illinois and began my career as a social worker, but discovered that I was not very good at it. So I went back to school to earn an MA in the Teaching of Writing from Columbia College. I’ve been teaching at DePaul University in Chicago since 1987 and currently hold the position of Associate Director of the University Honors Program. I love my work advising Honors students, overseeing student-life programming, and managing Honors admissions. I also teach an Honors Senior Seminar on Community Service Studies and several courses for the English Department, including Writing for Young Adults, Introduction to Creative Writing, and Reading and Writing Young Adult Literature.
I live in a Chicago suburb with my husband, Ken Fishbain, a hospital administrator. My daughter, Maggie, now a college student, grew up with the manuscript, and I have some early drafts with her notes in the margins. My son, Kevin, now a sports journalist, helped me with a later draft by telling me what really happened at those homecoming parties. I’m currently working on my second novel.