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The Story of My Life (So Far)

Once upon a time, in 1962, I was born, and my parents named me Lauren Anne Stevens. I was their only child for about a year, and then my sister Carol was born. We lived in Oregon at that time. When I was three, we drove across the country to Massachusetts. My earliest memory comes from that trip: I remember seeing the colorfully lit signs of a motel or restaurant as we pulled into the parking lot after dark. Once we were in Massachusetts, my brother John was born, and, when I was five, my youngest brother Douglas arrived. The four of us kids did most of our growing up in Holden, Massachusetts, near the city of Worcester. My dad was a psychology professor and my mom was a nurse.

Lauren Anne, age 1, crib jumping champion. I used to bounce so hard that the crib would wiggle across the room.

Age 2, on the front steps of our house in Eugene, Oregon.

That’s me on the left, and my sister on the right. She’s a year younger than me, but has almost always been taller than me. I’m still taller than her here!

When I was eight and when I was ten, my family lived for a year in the Netherlands. We went to Dutch schools and both times I became fluent in Dutch. Unfortunately, I have forgotten most of what I learned, except how to count (een, twee, dree) and basic phrases like “My name is Lauren” (Ik heet Lauren) and “I like it” (Ik leuk).


The four of us in the Netherlands.

I always liked school, and I was pretty good in every subject. I loved to read and wrote a lot of stories and poems, but I enjoyed math and science, too. When I went to college, at Mount Holyoke College, I focused on math, though I took lots of courses in English and creative writing. Then I went to Clark University to get a masters degree in English. All in all, I was in school for twenty years.

I always thought I would grow up to be a teacher, and when I was at Clark University I taught English and composition classes. But I also got interested in the publishing business, and in 1988 I moved to New York to work in the editorial department of a children’s book publisher. I worked as an editor for eighteen years, helping writers and illustrators to make their books as good as they could be. I was also writing my own books and getting them published. Finally in 2006 I decided to spend all my time writing.

I live in Brooklyn with my wonderful husband, Robert, who is an English professor, a poet, and a musician, and our son, Owen, who is ten and a real whippersnapper of a kid. We live near a park where we can ride our bikes, play baseball, go for walks, and even cross-country ski, when there is snow.

So that’s the story of my life so far. What will the next chapter be?