I’m a historical consultant and author of two historical novels, A Difficult Boy (Holiday House, 2008), and Mending Horses (Holiday House, 2014). Both books are set in 19th-century New England, and reflect my background as a historical interpreter and archivist.
In the 1990s, I did a stint as a costumed historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village, where I got to time-travel on a daily basis to 1830s New England. You can do all the research you want, but there’s nothing like sitting with your face against a muddy cow’s belly and getting slapped upside the head with a manure-soaked tail to give your story that “been-there-done-that” feeling, and to add a new and pungent dimension to the words “in your face.” After Sturbridge, I became an archivist at the Springfield History Museums, where I got paid to snoop through old diaries, letters and personal papers.
Writing A Difficult Boy and Mending Horses allowed me to combine my childhood dreams of becoming a novelist and owning a horse with my grown-up jobs as an archivist and historian. Although I never did get that dream horse, I got to invent one in Ivy, the mare that Daniel takes care of in the books.
I’m also the author of two nonfiction books: 140 Years of Providential Caring (Sisters of Providence, 2012), a history of the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke, Massachusetts, co-authored with Tom Shea and Suzanne Strempek Shea; and Images of America: Chicopee (Arcadia Publishing, 1998), a pictorial history of Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Besides being a writer, I’m also a freelance historical consultant. My other projects have included exhibits, nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, planning studies, local history publications, and more.