My name is pronounced "Metty" like my mother's "Betty." It is Danish, and we were all named after
ancestors. I guess by the time they got to number nine (out of eleven), it was getting tricky.
So I got the funny Danish name no one knew how to prounounce. In Denmark, it should be "meta" like "metaphysical."
It's from the Greek for "pearl." And no, it's not short for anything. Not even Mediterannean.
I am not sure that anyone who
has not grown up in a large family can understand what it is like. You are
raised as much by older siblings as by your parents. There is a lot of noise and a lot of love.
In my family, too, there was a determination that not one of us be at all like any other. Maybe
especially because we looked so much alike. I didn't want to be "little sister of" the rest of my life.
The careers already taken appeared to be: model (Rebecca), linguistics student (Ann), theater
major (Dynette), and artist (Emily). My brothers were the engineer (Joe), the doctor (Mark),
the goof-off (Rob), the absent-minded professor (John), the computer whiz kid (James),
and the musician (Peter). That left writer for me.
My mother read to me a lot when I was young. She often fell asleep at night as we snuggled up next
to her and a book. I think that she hoped this would be an effective strategy to get us to go to sleep earlier. It wasn't,
though. We poked at her until she would wake up, snort, and start reading again. Some of my favorites were:
BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL,
HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON,
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE . . . DAY,
HARRY THE DIRTY DOG
MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS,
PRINCE BERTRAM THE BAD,
FLICKA, RICKA, AND DICKA,
A CHOCOLATE MOOSE FOR DINNER
I soon realized that in order to read all the books I wanted, I was
going to have to learn to read myself, and I did. Some of my own favorites were (eventually):
A WRINKLE IN TIME,
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA,
THE HERO AND THE CROWN,
SHERLOCK HOLMES, and
THE DARK IS RISING.
By the time I was in Kindergarten, I was full of stories mixed from truth and
imagination, of my childhood on a farm in central New Jersey, with chickens, a pony, eleven children,
a dog, fairies, flying horses, and space ships. I had plenty of people around me to listen to
for dialogue, and my mother had to limit us to only ten books a week at the library, we were all such
voracious readers. So in order to get more of what I wanted, I learned to read "up," and steal the
books other siblings had read and set aside.
I remember vividly one day, sitting down and
telling my teacher a story about the rainbow-colored, friendly-looking dragon I had drawn.
The teacher wrote down the story I told her, which was quite short. It was this, "The dragon lives in a cave.
He is lonely. Everyone is afraid of him. Some people don't even have homes
because he burned them up. He is trying to be friendly. But no one else is friends with him." When
I was finished, the teacher said, "You should be a writer." This is the actual picture I drew, which my
mother kept for over thirty years, because I think she thought I should be a writer, too.
I wrote a lot of other stories in elementary school. One of my favorites is this one, complete with illustrations:
"This is about a giant that is nice. once upon a time a giant did't have a friend at, because
he came out shaking the world. So he was poor. one day a hunter came to the woods. the came out
and the hunter shot him. So every body mond and grond for him. one day the mother giant gad a baby boy. he grew and grew and
became a father giant. oh thay lived in a cave." Click here if you would like to read
more of my early stories. They're not great literature, but I think they do help parents and children not despair.
If I wrote like that then, and I write like I do now, well, anyone can be a good writer, given a lot of practice and
about thirty years.
When I was 11, my sister married Rick Walton ,
who is now a well-known picture book author. I watched him submit
manuscripts and collect rejection letters for several years before selling any books.
He also started my first writer's group, which consisted of me and a couple of friends who never
wrote anything. Click here
to read some of the horrible things I wrote in school!
I got too busy with high school, dating, and trying out life as a journalist
by writing for the school paper, THE THUNDERBOLT. Click here to find out more about my life in high school.
Yes, I think life in high school is like that for pretty much everyone.
When I got to college, My practical, computer engineer father suggested that perhaps I should choose
a career that might actually make money, and do writing
on the side. Not a bad plan, in theory. The problem for me (and for most writers I know), is that
it is difficult to do well at a full-time job when your mind is mostly being used for storing useful
dialogue to put in your next book. Nontheless, I tried. I got a PhD in German Literature at Princeton
University, taught for four years, and then realized that I didn't love teaching and had been putting off going
after my dream for too long. I started writing seriously again, and after four years, I got my first story published. Then I felt I had to make a choice between teaching German Literature at a university and pursuing a full-time writing career. I chose the latter.
I now live in Utah with my husband and 4 children, ages 10 to 17 (my oldest is at college now).
I write during the day when they are at school and drive them around to all of their
many activities in the afternoon. I read as much as I can, for ideas and for fun.
I also knit, crochet and quilt for fun. I occasionally play piano. I am trying to be a vegan, though that doesn't always
work when the kids want pizza and burgers. I have been doing triathlon for about 9 years now, and my new book Ironmom is all about my journey from failed athlete in high school to nationally ranked triathlete. If you are interested in that, click
My first book,
THE MONSTER IN ME was accepted for publication in 1999 and was published in 2002.
My second book, MIRA, MIRROR was published in 2004. My third book, the first in a trilogy I call
"The Hound Saga," is THE PRINCESS
AND THE HOUND and was published in 2007. The second book, THE PRINCESS AND THE BEAR, came out in 2009. The third book,
THE PRINCESS AND THE SNOWBIRD, came out in April 2010. TRIS AND IZZIE came out with Egmont in 2011 and I have a new book called THE ROSE THRONE coming out in May 2013. Ironmom will be out with familius.com in June 2013.
Return to home page