Kerri’s writing features unique structures, playful language, humor, tension, tenderness, simple text, and complicated characters. She has a good vision for how text and art can work together to tell a complete story. Kerri credits most of her story ideas to her "fly on the wall” personality. This means she’s both a keen observer of social interactions and a nosey eavesdropper.
Kerri has a degree in psychology and sociology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and completed an advanced education certificate program in Writing for Children at the University of Washington.
Kerri lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
You can learn more about Kerri in the following interview.
What did you like to read when you were a kid?
I was a big fan of anything written by Shel Silverstein, James Marshall, Arnold Lobel, Judith Viorst, and William Steig. As I got a little older I liked books by Beverly Clearly, Roald Dohl, Judy Blume, and Ann Martin.
What are some of your favorite picture books now?
I keep a list of picture books on Goodreads that are more than just my favorites, they are books that I wish I had written myself.
I also keep a Pinterest board of illustrators I fantasize about working with some day. Both of these lists are not complete, there are so many good books and talented authors and illustrators!
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was very young I remember wanting to be a hairdresser, or something where I got to work with animals. In later elementary school I started to get recognition for my writing and wanted to be a journalist.
What jobs have you had?
Traveling back in time, I’ve been a social science researcher, a marketing researcher, a program manager at a vocational site for adults with severe developmental disabilities, a counselor at a group home for adults with schizophrenia, a nanny, an assistant teacher at a childcare center, an ice cream server, a host and bus lady at an all you can eat buffet, and a babysitter to many.
How did you become an author?
I began writing picture books when I left my social science research job to be a stay-at-home mom. At first, it gave me something fun to focus on while using the same energy I drew from to parent. Before long I knew writing children’s books is what I wanted to do as a career. I am fortunate to live in Seattle where there are many great authors and THE BEST regional chapter the Society for Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators (SCBWI.) I highly recommend anyone interested in publishing books join a professional organization that focuses on their genre. I have been a member of SCBWI since 2004 and regularly attend national and local conferences, retreats, lectures and workshops. My involvement in SCBWI gives me the opportunity to hone my craft, learn about how the publishing industry works, and meet industry professionals. In 2006 I completed an advanced education certificate program in Writing for Children at the University of Washington. I read a lot, both books on the craft of writing and many, many picture books. I still read more than 500 picture books a year. But mostly, I write, revise, and keep writing. It took me a long time to reach my goal of being a published author. There was a lot of stubborn persistence involved.
What would you like to be if you couldn’t be an author
First of all, I’m a big believer that nobody needs to “be” any one thing in life. There are lots of jobs people can have, and I believe people should always be learning new things and having new experiences. Also, I don’t think I could ever stop writing even if I decided not to publish my stories. But to answer the question, if I were looking for a new career, I would probably start with jobs that still involved kids or creating because that’s what I love. I might like to be a reading specialist, or a speech therapist. Sometimes I fantasize about being a window designer for little boutiques or stores Anthropolgie. I already have an etsy store, Stitch Redux, so maybe I’d put more time into developing that business. Oh, and I love observing people, and am really good at digging up information on people online, I’d probably be a fantastic private investigator. But I feel very fortunate to be a children’s book author and I hope to continue doing it for many, many more years!