My name is Rie (pronounced "ree") and I write books for kids and tweens. I've loved writing since I could hold a crayon, but this is the story of how I started writing professionally. Here's how it happened...
My grandpa died in the fall of 2015.
I know—that’s a rotten opener. But I promise the rest isn’t sad. Really.
We’d been expecting it--his health was declining. It was part of why we’d moved back to California.
I like to say that Pa was a NASA engineer for pay and NASA’s biggest fan for free. (Although after his retirement, he continued doing the work part for free for a long time, too.) Every time someone came to visit, they were treated to a questionably-authorized, behind-the-scenes tour of NASA Ames, in Mountain View, CA, where Pa showed off everything he was working on. Since Grammy watched me after school when I was little, I usually tagged along. The gift shop had astronaut ice cream. I could scream inside the anechoic chamber and nobody would hear me. And the vast emptiness of the wind tunnels beckoned me to wonder what was lurking in the darkness.
When I wasn’t on one of Pa’s tours of NASA, I loved to write. At five, I used to staple pieces of colored paper together into “books.” By nine, I was writing stories nonstop. (Though they *rarely* got finished.) At twelve, I started journaling, which was HUGE in my development as a writer over the years. At thirteen, I started my own comic strip, The Winstons, which I wrote throughout 7th and 8th grade. (See below if you want a blast from my past!!!) Later in high school, I became a copyediting resource for my dad’s papers for NASA (Yep, he worked there, too!) Around that time, I decided I wanted to be a writer, but wasn’t sure yet what that would mean. I just knew it was something I loved doing.
Soon after college, I took a bilingual style editor position (I speak Spanish, but I'm rusty these days). I loved having license to nit-pick--*ahem*--polish written work, but missed working with people face-to-face. So I tried Speech-Language Pathology, then Audiology, and got my Au.D. at the University of Iowa. Throughout all this, I stuffed writing into the cracks between education, work, marriage, and kids. I started (and eventually scrapped) novels twice.
When Pa died, I was between jobs. His death, and all the changes that went along with it, made it feel like a wind tunnel had opened up inside me. I started writing again to fill that space, fill my time. Pa had always thrown himself into his work with such passion, and I wanted to do something that made me feel that way, too. And before I knew it, I had a completed novel on my screen.
(Then I still had to edit the poop out of it, as one does.)
And now I’m hooked.
I currently live in the Silicon Valley with my husband & two kids, where my writing sessions are punctuated by background chatter in hundreds of languages. We share the streets with self-driving cars and Teslas, and drag our visitors on (authorized) tours of the NASA Ames visitor center.
Fun facts about me: I love NASA, but probably not as much as Pa did. I read & watch sci-fi and I can't wait till someone sends people to Mars. I was a band nerd, and I've played piano, flute, oboe, trumpet, and guitar, and sung in choirs. I grew up a drama geek, too--my favorite role was playing Anne in a local youth production of Anne of Green Gables. These days, I geek out over books, STEM, ASL, and travel. One day, I'd really, really love to visit Iceland. (Or, you know, like, LIVE THERE for a year.)
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Thanks for visiting!