Our human, Anne Marie Osterlund, was born in Eastern Oregon which has sunshine and wide open spaces. She grew up on a wheat ranch where we met her and claimed her as our human. There she developed a great love of reading and creative writing which bears on our future story.
Anne attended school in a small town where she participated in almost everything because that is what you do in a small town if you want anything to happen. Among other endeavors, she participated in 4-H, drama productions, band (she played the clarinet which she is ashamed to say she has not touched in the past decade) and tennis.
She then departed Eastern Oregon for the very cold but navigationally-friendly Spokane, WA., and attended Whitworth College which is beautiful and full of great people (though decidedly lacking in cats). She majored in Elementary Education with second teaching fields in Spanish and English, and along with making many good friends, traveled to Spain, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, and England as part of her undergraduate programs.
After graduation, Anne came back to Eastern Oregon where she rescued the two of us from our ADD mother cat and taught a number of extraordinary third graders before returning to school to obtain her Masters of Education from Southern Oregon University. Sadly, she was too busy at Southern to attend more than two Shakespeare plays. We, on the other hand, had plenty of time to teach all our bad habits to the friendly neighbor cat.
The three of us then moved to Western Washington (lots of trees, very wet, and occasional migrating ducks!) where our human taught 4-6th grade in an amazing school known as the Orting Partnership School. She had the pleasure of working with a remarkable group of curious students, involved parents, and dedicated staff members. Unfortunately, she did not grow any webbed feet or acquire a taste for traffic.
She then defied all wise and rational advice by deciding to take a year off from teaching in order to write. She moved us back to Eastern Oregon and spent that year revising and revising and revising Aurelia and trying to learn everything she could about publishing. She met lots of great people, including her future editor, Angelle Pilkington, who walked around Silver Falls with her and gave Anne good advice on her manuscript. Anne revised and revised some more, then sent her book off in the mail; started her second book, Academy 7; obtained a new teaching position; and bought a cute little yellow house (with a jungle next door for those of us with paws to play hide and seek). She spent the next year learning the ropes at her new school, directing her fabulous sixth-grade class in a production of Julius Caesar, fixing her hundred-year-old house, revising her second book, and collecting rejection slips until the miraculous day when Aurelia was accepted by Penguin Books.
(Continued on page 2.)