I was born in Calcutta and spent my childhood and early adolescence moving around South America and the Caribbean with my parents who were international aid workers. Not only did this mean that many dinner table conversations centered around issues of international justice and poverty alleviation, but it was awkwardly normal for me to stick out like a sore thumb on the playground, at the birthday party, or on the bus.
Though I spoke Spanish like a native and felt more comfortable in Bolivia than holding my American passport, I was always seen as the outsider. When the UV rays from the hole in the ozone over the Andes badly damaged my eyes, we were forced to leave what had always felt like home and move to the United States. Having never lived here before, I stepped off the plane at the age of 14 and started 9th grade the very next morning at a high school in rural Virginia.
Thus began my adventures stateside. After high school I attended the University of Virginia, followed by an AmeriCorps volunteer year in Minnesota where I worked in refugee resettlement and interpreted in a prenatal clinic for indigent women. I completed graduate school in Indiana before moving to Massachusetts in 2008. I taught high school Spanish for six years before transitioning to writing full-time. I currently live just north of Boston with my husband, our three kids, a big furry mutt, and six chickens.
Back in 2009, when I came across a news story that told about the kidnapping, mutilation, and murder of African albinos for use as good luck talismans, I was struck by the topic on multiple levels. The grown-up in me, the one that studied for a dual Masters in Non-Profit Management and International Studies and worked with village micro-finance and refugee resettlement programs, wanted to publicize this human rights tragedy. The kid in me, the one who had to hide from the sun and could never blend into a crowd, wanted to tell a story about what it must feel like to be a kid who has those problems in the extreme.
So I sat down and started to write GOLDEN BOY. And the rest, as they say, is history…
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