My very first ambition was to be an actress. But that was only natural because both my parents were actors. My father, Paul Tripp, (find out about him at: www.tubbythetuba.com) was also quite famous as a creator of children’s television shows and as a writer of children’s stories. In fact, two of my earliest childhood memories are of sitting in a Broadway theatre to watch my mother play Maria in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and seeing my father sitting at his desk writing. As a child, I spent a lot of time dressing up and imitating my parents by acting out various parts. But when I was about three and a half, I decided to try being like my father. Since I didn’t yet know how to put words on paper, I dictated my first book. It was called The Adventures of King Saltagong—and it was NOT a bestseller.
While growing up, I read just about everything I could get my hands on--fairy tales, mysteries, romances, and adventures—but my favorites were always stories about mythic heroes or biographies. I loved books that transported me to different worlds and introduced me to different times and places. Even then, I loved history and knew that true stories could be as exciting as fiction.
But, although—as I grew older-- I often wrote my own stories and poems, I still wanted to act. Between the ages of four and nineteen I appeared on a number of television shows for children and adults. I also studied acting at New York City’s famous High School of Performing Arts. But when I went to college in Los Angeles at UCLA something happened. Instead of taking acting classes, I became an English major and spent a lot of time studying history. I also stopped wanting to act; and, for a time, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do. One semester, however, I took a class in children’s literature. There, I re-read all my old childhood favorites. I remembered how much those books had meant to me when I was growing up. I thought about how the authors of those books had magically opened my eyes to new and wonderful worlds—and I knew I wanted to write for children, too.
Of course, writing wasn’t quite as easy as it looked. But even when publishers rejected my first efforts, I kept on trying. Still, before I saw my first book in print, I had become a wife, the mother of two young children, and an editor at UCLA’s Fowler Museum where I helped scholars write books about the arts of Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas.
Today, my husband and I live in Los Angeles with a very large, very friendly golden retriever. Our children are grown, and I spend most of my time doing the things I like best: reading and writing books.