I was born and bred in New York City, in an apartment building in the borough of Queens. My father was a U.S. Post Office clerk at the Planetarium Post Office on the west side of Manhattan, and I learned to read by helping him sort mail on Saturdays, when he'd take me with him, riding the subway, to work. This was in the days before postal zip codes, so the mail was hand-sorted and placed in little pigeon holes; dad patiently checked and corrected any mistakes. I belatedly apologize to any residents whose mail may have gone slightly astray during these exercises, but I can assure them that I did learn my letters very well.
I attended New York City public schools from elementary through high school (my mom was an elementary school aide), enjoyed trips to Radio City Music Hall and the Automat, played city sidewalk games, and rooted for the New York Mets--a happily ordinary NYC childhood.
I received my first article rejection letter at age 10, when Reader's Digest declined to publish my submission, but undeterred, I've made my career as a journalist and writer, collecting many more of those rejection letters along the way.
I'm a graduate of Kirkland and Hamilton College in Clinton, New York (Kirkland was the women's coordinate college of Hamilton, later was blended into a co-educational Hamilton) and I hold a masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I've worked as a congressional speechwriter, a Washington correspondent, a freelance obituary writer, an oral historian, a Public Radio reporter and producer, a magazine editor, university instructor, and on the staff of CBS Television's Bicentennial Minutes, a nightly historical program, winner of an Emmy Award for special programming. My articles and have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, and her radio reports have aired on NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition as well as Voice of America.
My writing has earned awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Education in Journalism, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. These days I'm a features correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.
In the late 1970's I collected an oral history from an elderly woman in Putney, Vermont--and she told me about her youthful service in the Vermont Woman's Land Army. I spent two years in Vermont, collecting her tales and writing a book about the experience (the manuscript is still in my desk drawer), but could not find any historical information about the Woman's Land Army. During the next two decades I married, moved, had a variety of writing jobs, became a mother---but the mystery of the Land Army rattled around in the back of my brain. I've spent most of the 21st century solving that mystery--in the researching and writing of Fruits of Victory.
I live in Baltimore, Maryland, where my husband, Julian Krolik, is a professor of astrophysics at Johns Hopkins University. Black holes are not just metaphors in our household. We have two children-- Theodore (Teddy) and Abigail (Abby)--who have thrilled us with their own talents and accomplishments, and have displayed loving patience for their distracted mom on deadline.
When I'm not at the desk I can be found paddling my little purple kayak on the Chesapeake Bay, walking the hills of my neighborhood, swimming, or playing tennis (very badly). While I have great admiration for the Land Army women I write about, I have to admit that I have feeble agricultural skills, and can barely manage my tiny kitchen garden; but I always think fondly of my farmerettes when I go to the local farmer's market.