I grew up on the South Side of Chicago with my brother Tom, my parents, and many cousins and uncles and aunts. The most exercise I got was walking up the hill to Walker Branch Library. Be All You Read, the sign said over the door. I went to several colleges: Miami of Ohio, University of Illinois, Brown University, and UC Berkeley.
Berkeley is where I had my kids, Patrick and Molly, wearing them on my back while I protested the Viet Nam War. We moved with their father to London, where we lived for four years. I spent many hours in the British Library working but spent even more time at the Geological museum watching the volcano erupt. The cartoon cinema at Victoria was our favorite stop. On rainy days we watched every Tom and Jerry ever made.
London is where I first wrote fiction and did research on eighteenth-century crimes against women (like rape and heiress stealing). I also worked with the Women’s Research and Resources Centre on feminist approaches to literature and life. After four years, we returned to the states and lived in Brooklyn. I taught eighteenth century English at NYU, wrote literary criticism and published my first novel: Washed in the Blood (1983), a noir mystery set in Hollywood. (You can still get it on the internet for about one dollar.)
In 1978 I reluctantly moved to Boston where I taught English as well as American Immigrant stories and Girls’ Books at Tufts University. I still miss New York, but have grown to love Boston and Jamaica Plain, where I live with my husband, David Tarbet. We bought an old house big enough for our four kids–Patrick and Molly and Emily and Andrew. They grew up into terrific people, living in Boston, Chicago, Portland Maine, and Barcelona. We have along the way eight grandchildren, seven girls and a boy, and they are learning how to rule the world.