ABOUT ELLEN POTTER

Ellen and her poodle, Charlie — Photo Credit: Barbara Taylor, The Baltimore Sun Growing up in a 27-story building in NYC, I loved to watch people in the building’s elevator and make up crazy stories about them. There was one woman, for instance, who was sort of chubby and always cheerful, so I imagined that she lived in an apartment made entirely of chocolate! I imagined that her walls were made of chocolate, so she could lick them, and her furniture was chocolate, and she had a chocolate refrigerator that only contained chocolate eggs and chocolate milk. And if she got hungry in the middle of the night, she could nibble on her bed.

I remember the exact moment when I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to be a writer. I was eleven years old and I was in my school library, strolling through the aisles, trying to decide what to read next. Should it be A Wrinkle in Time? Or maybe Harriet the Spy. In a flash, I decided that the best books in the world were written for eleven-year-olds! Sadly, my twelfth birthday was just around the corner. So I reasoned that the only thing to do was to grow up and write books for eleven-year-olds. Which is pretty much what happened (after many years and piles of rejections letters).

I studied creative writing at Binghamton University. After graduating I worked many different jobs while I continued to write. I was a dog groomer, a construction worker, an art teacher, and a waitress. Having lots of different jobs is a terrific advantage for a writer. Because of them, I know all kinds of oddball things, which I’ve used in my books, like how to remove bubble gum from a dog’s fur (peanut butter). In fact, it was while I was addressing envelopes during a boring stint as a receptionist that a name caught my eye: Olivia Kidney. What a great name, I thought! I jotted it down in my journal. Years later, while thumbing through my old journals, I spotted the name and decided it was perfect for the feisty twelve-year-old heroine of my first children’s book.

These days I live in Maine with my family, three badly behaved dogs and 5, 789 Legos (which occasionally wind up inside the three badly behaved dogs).

Ellen and Charlie hard at work— Photo Credit: Barbara Taylor, The Baltimore Sun