The Romantic poet, Percy Shelley wrote, “The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.”  My long plunge into the world of books has ingrained into me the truth of Shelley’s words.  As I worked on my PhD at the University of South Carolina, studying nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature and children’s literature, I realized that the best writers create characters that challenge rather than uphold status quos, characters that complicate the world around them for greater moral purposes.  As a writer for young adults, I hope to create characters that can match in brains and courage some of my favorite radical literary heroines, including Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet, and George Eliot’s Dorothea Brooke.  When I am not reading or writing, I try to use my imagination for constructive purposes, serving on the board of a local dog rescue organization and reading to my very small children (with very little fear of juvenile anarchy) books such as Where the Wild Things Are.