People love to ask writers how – and when – they got started. I began early, publishing my first story in American Girl magazine when I was in 5th grade. 

When I found out that a person could write and get paid for it, I was hooked. In high school, I fell in love with theater, pursuing a drama major at Tufts University. But ultimately, journalism won. After graduation, I went to work for a retail trade journal in Boston, and then joined Inc. magazine. After a move to New York City, I worked at Barron’s and Money, before becoming a freelancer. Over the next decade, I was fortunate to work with many of the most talented magazine editors in New York.

Just before I turned 30, I met my husband, composer Ron Ramin, and joined him in Los Angeles, where I wrote features for the Los Angeles Times magazine, and a biweekly column for the Herald Examiner. Those first-person columns, about the emotional life of Angelenos, were delightful to write, and led me toward my first book, Carved in Sand.

The response to that book was wonderful; within days of its publication, it was #5 on Amazon.  But as I flew all over the country, first on a book tour, and then for speaking engagements, my back, always testy, really kicked up a fuss. I found myself hobbling to the podium and dreading airplanes, rental cars and hotel room beds. Something had to be done.

When I began reporting the book that would become Crooked, I figured that like Carved in Sand, it would take about three years to research and write. But quickly, I realized that I had a major piece of investigative reporting ahead of me, and that nailing it all down would represent the challenge of my career. In fact, the book would take me almost six years to chase down. 

The author at the time of her first publication

The author at the time of her first publication

On a personal note, my husband and I have two adult sons, Avery and Oliver, and a daughter-in-law-to-be, the delightful Catherine Joei. With our dog Dasch, an energetic Dachshund-Jack Russell cross, we divide our time between New York City and Northern California.

I'm a member of the Association of Health Care Journaliststhe National Association of Science Writers, the Journalism and Women's Symposium and IRE, Investigative Reporters and Editors. I’m a fellow of The MacDowell Colony, as well as The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.