When I was twelve years old, my 6th grade class in Medina, Washington, was given the assignment of building a machine out of Lego’s and using the computer language program Logo to make the machine work. As any budding writer would do, I built a printer and programmed it to draw the alphabet with a marker. I can still remember where I sat in the room, how my eyes would be glued to the turtle on the screen, and what both the printer itself looked like and the block letters it drew. Looking back on those weeks spent configuring the printer and writing the program, I can see how life-changing this assignment truly was for me. It not only exposed me to robotics, mathematics, and engineering, but it boosted my self-confidence and self-awareness – preparing me to see the beauty and importance in being interested in both the sciences and the arts.
I am proud that I have found a way to merge these passions – creating White Wave Press in 2014. It was a pivotal moment for me, as I pushed my infant daughter in her stroller and pondered the different publishing opportunities for my newly written girl-empowering, science-minded children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. I decided right then and there that I wanted to form my own indie publishing company to produce books that, I felt, filled a void on the bookstore and library walls – books that represent girls who are strong, intelligent, compassionate, and adventurous.
I am honored that Karen Watson has joined me twice now in creating the beautiful watercolor artwork for the Piratess Tilly series. And I am humbled that the books are award-winning and have been well reviewed by Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Foreword Magazine.
And now, I am proud to have taken this mission one step further by creating, the now award-winning, The Historical Heroines Coloring Book: Pioneering Women in Science from the 18th and 19th centuries – a coloring book that celebrates 31 women who both persevered and pursued their talents and passions for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – often in the face of gender discrimination. These women’s stories are now shared in short biographies and their portraits are now fiercely and whimsically portrayed by the artist Kendra Shedenhelm.
I was very fortunate to attend schools with strong programs in the sciences, arts, and humanities. I soaked up what I needed to in order to become the woman I am today. And the look of admiration in my young daughter’s eyes as she holds a Piratess Tilly doll or arranges the stacks of Historical Heroines postcards, fills me with such joy and pride – knowing that she is watching her mother work towards empowering other girls and boys.
My journey has taken me from Seattle, WA; to Chapel Hill, NC; to Carlisle, PA; to NYC, where I graduated from The New School and where I met my husband; to the Hamptons on Long Island; and now to Newburyport, MA, where my family and I have finally planted our roots. I am on the board of directors for the Newburyport Maritime Society – Custom House Maritime Museum and an active participant in our vibrant art community.
I continue to write and have more recently been published by the Haiku Foundation Blog and Boston Literary Magazine. My husband, Robert Lorayne, is once again practicing his music and collaborating with local legend, Joe Holaday of The Fools and Beetlejuice. We have now both realized the importance of honoring our creative spirits and we hope to pass that on to those around us – most importantly, to our daughter, Vivi.