Aubrey grew up in Virginia just before the technology boom, when exciting weekend plans consisted of a library card and a few dozen ice pops. Her most beloved friends all lived the pages of her favorite novels, and if she’s being honest, they still do. After high school, she studied at Brigham Young University, earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a minor in art history. Currently, she lives in California with her husband and three young children. In her thirty-some years, she’s lived many lives, and is currently in her medical-mom era—learning how to be an advocate for her youngest child, an objectively delightful baby with a trach and a feeding tube.
Frequently Asked Questions
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
The birth of an idea is a tricky thing to pinpoint. For me, it’s rarely explosive. It’s a gradual chipping away at stone. But when beginning a new story, I always start with the setting. Setting is what draws me in as a reader, so naturally, it’s what lures me into a new world as a writer. After I’ve established the when/where, I roll up my sleeves and begin the excavation: who lives here? what goes on here? and why does it matter?
My Mom is a picture book author, and as a child, I spent a lot of time scribbling stories in notebooks. But I never really considered it for a career and actually graduated university in a completely unrelated major. It wasn’t until I was an adult with an apartment and a job and a mild case of depression that I realized my life was missing a creative outlet. I opened Microsoft Word and began writing a fantastical pirate book set on the high seas. The rest is (a long, winding, often arduous) history.
I tend to go through intense phases of specific consumption, so I would devour entire series/genres, then move on to the next. Mysteries were my bread and butter: Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, Mary Higgins Clark. I loved adventures like Hatchet and Ender’s Game; whimsical stories like A Wrinkle in Time, Matilda, and The Giver; magical tales like Tuck Everlasting and Ella Enchanted.
Nothing will improve your writing as much as reading. Read, read, read. Write when you feel inspired. Then read some more.
Reading builds a better society. This is a studied, proven, peer-reviewed fact. Real-life, real-time growth and empathy occur when we read. Biases are challenged; ignorance is squashed; critical thought is encouraged.
Besides, why would you want to experience this vast, beautiful world through a single lens, when you could see it through a hundred different eyes?
Take them to a library. Don’t censor the books they want to check-out. Even if it’s silly or in a different language; even if it’s way above or below their target reading level. Allow the library to be their place of autonomy and exploration. Then, give them “quiet time” a few times a week where their only options are to nap or read their library treasures (trust me, they will pick books).
If your child is already inclined to read, share this gift with the community! Encourage them to start a book club. Send an evite. Put out snacks. Empower your child by having them lead a discussion. Do all or none of these, but in short: make it fun. Because moment a child associates books with positive experiences, a reader is born. And the more readers we have, the safer, happier, more compassionate our communities will be. (And I think every middle school could use a little support in these areas, don’t you?)