• When I attended my first SCBWI conference in Lawton, Oklahoma, I met a woman who changed my life. She was a lovely lady, probably thirty years older than I was at the time. When I asked her what she wrote, she said the words that shook me. “Oh, I don’t write,” she said, “but I am planning to one of these days.” I could hardly keep from gasping because I saw myself in that statement. I had known since early childhood that I wanted to write–someday! I went home from that conference and started to write.
    One summer I had the privilege of taking a class taught by Lee Bennett Hopkins, and I will always be thankful for his special encouragement.

    It took me seven years to sell my first novel, but I never seriously
    thought of giving up. That first novel, Red-Dirt Jessie, came out in 1992 and the nineteenth one in 2011. In 2014, my first picture book, Tumbleweed Baby, was published by Abrams Books. From 2000 until 2015, I served as the RA for Oklahoma. I am now RAE.  When I took over the job, I expected to keep it only for two or three years. However, I did not know how much I would enjoy the people of our chapter. My life is richer because of SCBWI members.

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