My life has been a wonderful adventure that has included many years of education, raising a family, growing gardens, enjoying outdoor activities, and lots of travel, as well as writing, teaching, and editing.

I’ve been enjoying my publishing career for more than 35 years. While I’ve focused mostly on nonfiction books for young readers, I’ve written in many other genres including travel articles and gardening books for adults and worked with other writers in honing their work.

I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned about writing with children, fellow writers, and the public. I’ve been a featured speaker at many conferences and schools, and I’ve taught nuts and bolts workshops on writing, as well as workshops on freeing the creative spirit from the restraints of the internal critic. I also work as a content editor with less experienced writers, helping them communicate more clearly with their intended audience.

I was born in Rochester, MN, where my father was a physician at the Mayo Clinic. We moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when I was nine years old, and I grew up in Marin County. From the beginning, I loved animals and the out of doors, where I spent as much time exploring the woods and fields as possible. The walls of my bedroom were lines with terrariums and aquariums containing my pet snakes, frogs, lizards, and tropical fish.

Studying living things was natural for me, and I received a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and a M.A. and PhD. in Zoology from the University of California, Berkeley. While in graduate school, I married fellow student Greg Patent. We have two sons, David and Jason, both now grown and married, giving us five grandchildren.

Instead of becoming a college professor or researcher, I decided to focus my career mainly on sharing my love and knowledge with young readers.  On my site you can learn about my nonfiction science books for children, my experiences as an ever curious author, and my teaching and editing activities.