I grew up in the country with my parents, four brothers and one sister. Along with being outside and discovering the world around me, I loved books. I couldn’t wait to ride my bike up to the bookmobile and get my hands on another Nancy Drew mystery.
Our family vacations were the best! We traveled throughout the Midwest, to Canada, the Smoky Mountains, Florida and the Bahamas. These trips instilled a love for adventure in me.
In high school I started writing and dreamed of working for a small town newspaper. One of my favorite stories from those years involved a haunted spook trail that a friend and I made.
My first job after college was working for a radio station selling ad space. Several years later I worked in sales and management for the Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau, and then for the convention center. I worked hard, traveled a lot, and had a blast!
I met and married my amazing husband Brad. Two years later we had our first daughter Claire, and soon after that, daughter Kyle, and then our son Ian. 3 babies in 3 years. I quit my job.
I loved being at home with my kids and taking them to the parks, the zoo, on nature hikes and the library. I wanted to share the world with them. My husband Brad and I began our mission of experiencing all 50 states with our children. I started freelance writing too.
Sadly, when she was ten years old, Claire died unexpectedly due to a heart condition. We still miss her big smile, her impish spirit, her love for family and friends. She enjoyed dancing, playing softball, and telling stories. But most of all she was passionate about books!
We created Claire’s Day www.clairesday.org to share this love with the community. What began as a one-day event, has expanded into a multiple location and many days filled with various literacy events. Each Claire’s Day is filled with the sights and sounds of children of all ages enjoying all that Claire held dear: books, music, fun hands-on activities, and celebrating special readers.
Hidden Ohio was my first children’s book published, and with it came school visits, book signings and educator events. My next book, Missing Millie Benson: The Secret Case of the Nancy Drew Ghostwriter and Journalist was released in 2015. My newest work, Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller is coming out July, 2017. Millie’s and Virginia’s stories are from the Biographies for Young Readers series published by Ohio University Press.
I also read to kindergarten students through Read for Literacy’s Creating Young Readers program, and it is my absolute favorite thing to do!
I’m still Just Julie though, as I’m not much different than that little girl who used to ride her bike to the bookmobile, stacking her basket with biographies and adventures.
Now I write them and live them.