This photo of our family was taken in our backyard. This is my husband, me, Gia, and Frank. Recently, Frank was married. It was a very exciting day!
As a young child, I lived in New York City until we moved to Pennsylvania. I was in fourth grade at the time. I’m one of five children born to Violette and Salvatore Auteri. Growing up I had trouble reading and so I attended a special school on Saturday mornings. Can you imagine going to school on Saturday?!
Actually, I enjoyed it. Most of the kids in the class really struggled. It was the first time I felt smart. Eventually I learned to read, but my love of reading came later when my cousin and I would slip away from family dinners and hide in the closet (mostly to get away from my sister) and we would take turns reading.
After high school, I began to keep a journal. I recorded my thoughts and feelings as well as adventures and experiences. When my own children were born I began to write stories for them. My daughter was born with a genetic condition called 22q Deletion Syndrome. Writing stories about our family helped her learn to read. Now she reads all my stories and helps me make them better.
Today I write stories with Christian themes for 8-12 year olds. Many of my stories are based on our family.
My very first job was in high school as a swim instructor. (I‘m a really good swimmer.) My dad taught us all how to swim, and get this, he didn’t know how to swim! My picture book All the Way into Shore is based on learning to swim.
Later I took a job as a bank teller. It was a summer job and so I filled in for other tellers that were on vacation. I spent a week or two at a bank branch for those that were on vacation and then I moved to another branch. It was like being a substitute teacher, but for a bank. One summer I was at the same branch the entire summer. They had so many tellers and each one took a different week of vacation.
Hobbies and Career
I played piano, violin, flute, and oboe all through school and into college. I thought I wanted to be a music teacher. I went to college with that in mind, but after the first semester I switched to elementary education and never regretted it. I have now taught every grade level, first through sixth grade (except 3rd ). I spent about 4 years teaching in each grade level, but I spent most of my time teaching fourth grade.
I began writing when my children were born and spent many summer days writing stories for them. I knew I wanted to write books for kids that had Christian themes. But it was a struggle raising kids, working, and just living life. Most times I felt like I was failing until I began to live Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. I realized that putting God first was the only way to get it done. I’m no expert, but I try and I think God honors that.