I used to hear interviews with authors—fiction writers, especially—and think these people are kind of weird. But they’re weird in the same ways I’m weird. (If anyone ever asked me for career advice, I’d probably say, Investigate professions. Are there whole groups of professionals who are weird in the same ways you’re weird? Well, that’s the color of your parachute.)
Even though I always wanted to write, I sort of kept this a secret, even from myself. As we all know, aiming for a goal can be far scarier than poking around on the sidelines. I studied literature at Brown, then Hopkins (B.A.), then Georgetown (M.A.). I started working in academic/medical/scientific/business publishing, where I found more people who were my flavor of weird. I wrote, but not a lot. Mostly I copyedited and proofread what other people wrote.
Now, I’m happy to report, I spend a good part of my time writing, for both children and adults. My first novel is for children, and my second—in its first full draft now—is for adults. I also write poems, short shorts, short stories, essays, and humor pieces. (You can see some examples at my website.)
After about a decade in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m back where I was born—Baltimore, Maryland, where I live with my family. My son, Jackson, is 12. Baltimore isn’t quite as weird as John Waters’ work would suggest, but it’s so very close.
Follow me on Twitter, if you wish (@ElisabethDahl). Or check out my aforementioned website.
DEBUT: GENIE WISHES (Amulet/Abrams Books, spring 2013, realistic/contemporary, middle grade, ages 8-12). In September, Genie Haddock Kunkle’s fifth-grade class elects her to serve as class blogger and she adopts the nom de blog Genie Wishes. Through her first-person narration, blog entries, and line drawings, Genie charts her course through fifth grade.
SUPERSTITION: I’d always harbored a special affection for the number 9. Then my son was born on 6/6/99, which is really just a bunch of 9s in different positions. I like that. (His birth date is not 6s in different positions. It’s just not.)