I’ve tried so many things to avoid actually writing books while still spending most of my time with them. Story of my life.
Here are a few more details:
What I look like:
Usually pretty close to this, though the length of my hair varies. Sometimes I grow it out, and sometimes I chop it off.
Where I’m From:
I was born in Greenville, South Carolina and grew up in the Golden Strip, a string of three little towns (Mauldin, Simpsonville, and Fountain Inn) in southern Greenville County. Last time I checked, about half the population of the United States was trying to move there, so the Golden Strip must have something going for it.
Where I Went to College:
I earned a B.A. in History with a minor in French at the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. I went to grad school twice. First, I got a Master of Library and Information Science at USC, and I became a youth services librarian. Then, I studied children’s and young adult literature and American literature at Illinois State University, graduating with an M.A. in English and a Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Where I’ve Lived:
I’ve lived in four states. I was born and grew up in South Carolina, I lived in New Jersey for a year, I lived in Illinois for eleven years, and now I live in Pennsylvania.
What I Like to Do:
The thing I love to do most in the world is read. I also love traveling whenever I can. I’ve been to six countries outside the United States (Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland) and over half the states. I especially love visiting national parks and historic sites. One of my favorite places to visit is Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
Jobs I Have Had:
I was an in-demand babysitter in high school. In college, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant and did office work at an HR firm. Since then, I’ve been a youth services librarian, a college English instructor, a writing consultant/coach, and a freelance writer.
What I Write:
I focus my book-length work on historical fiction and nonfiction, but I like to write other short pieces.
What I’m Working On:
I am rediscovering my joy in the sound of words by writing poetry for young children. So far, I’ve had several pieces accepted for publication in the Highlights group of magazines.
I am also working on an adult historical novel set in the eastern United States in the mid-19th century.
I am taking lots of time to read and hone my craft. I don’t want to be a fast writer as much as I want to be a good writer.
Why My Name is So Long (The most FAQ!):
My last name was “McKinney.” My husband’s was “Whitaker.” Neither name was short to begin with, and then we put them together, so now it’s “McKinney-Whitaker.” It doesn’t fit on anything, but we like it.
On top of that, my parents decided to call me by my middle name (Courtney), but sometimes I need to put my first name on documents. So then it gets really, really long!