About Me

I was born in Dallas, Texas and lived all over before settling down in Florida with my husband, David, and our three kids, two cats, and one dog.

I never planned to be a writer—I was a middle school math teacher for a couple years. But being a voracious reader as a kid gave me a love for words (and working with middle-schoolers gave me a sense of humor). It seemed like a good idea to combine the two (words and humor) and voila, a book was born.

My middle grade novels have been named to multiple state award lists, including the Pennsylvania’s Young Readers Choice Awards, Georgia’s Children’s Book Awards, Alaska’s Battle of the Books, Ohio’s Buckeye Children and Teen’s Book Awards, Wisconsin’s Golden Archer Awards, Alabama’s Camellia Children’s Choice Book Award, Nebraska’s Golden Sower Awards, Missouri’s Mark Twain Book Award, Indiana’s Young Hoosier Book Award and Florida’s Sunshine State Young Readers Awards.

While I’m somewhat decent at math, I’m terrible at science and have an intense dislike of tarantulas.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…and spiders.” – Anonymous

FAQs

Usually whatever I’m currently reading has a good chance of making my favorites list, but I will always LOVE Okay for Now (by Gary Schmidt), The Wednesday Wars (also by Gary Schmidt), Three Times Lucky (by Sheila Turnage), Last in a Long Line of Rebels (by Lisa Lewis Tyre), and Hope in the Holler (also by Lisa Lewis Tyre). I enjoy reading humor, so anything that makes me laugh is awesome.

Anything but a math teacher. But I grew up to be a math teacher anyway—go figure! Actually, I had a great teacher in high school that made math easy for me. I decided I wanted to try to make math easy for others too.

Spiders. Seriously. Anything with eight legs gets squished.

Yes. In a crazy attempt to overcome my fear of spiders I held one. Worse mistake of my life…and his unfortunately. (Just kidding. The spider lived.)

I love Chinese food, chocolate, and sushi (not all at once though—that’d be gross).

Don’t you? It’s quite possibly the best topping in the world (aside from pepperoni, of course.)

Hook ’em Horns! My husband is a University of Texas at Austin alumnus and our family tends to bleed orange. I graduated from the University of North Texas (after attending University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado, and a handful of community colleges here and there). Let’s just say I was “indecisive.” My apologies to Scrappy the Eagle, Albert and Alberta Gator, Ralphie the Buffalo, and Knightro the Golden Knight, but Bevo has my heart.

No, BUT I’ve always enjoyed writing.

In Kindergarten while practicing my ABCs on a Big Chief writing pad.

Yep—it’s part of the game. But I’ve learned to develop “rhino skin” over the years and don’t take them personally.

I would say it depends on what you mean by “write.” The concept usually comes together pretty quick for me, but the fine-tuning of a manuscript can take quite a while. On average it takes me about two years to write a book.

No! I am lucky enough to work with a group of talented writers. We critique each other’s stories and help one another make our stories better and stronger. Having your creative work critiqued by others can sting sometimes (oftentimes), but it’s worth it.

An agent is someone who represents an author and takes their stories to publishers. It’s really hard (but not impossible) to get published without one. My agent is Sally Apokedak (pronounced A-Pock-Uh-Dock) with the Apokedak Literary Agency, and she rocks!

Yes!

It’s another murder mystery about a super-observant kid who believes there’s more to the death of Geraldine Guss than meets the eye. And that’s all I’m saying about that!

It’s easy!

First Name: It’s Karen, but with a T . . . Taryn.

Last Name: Soo-ters (Think of a suit).

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