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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.

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

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

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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).

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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?