Sarah Tomp has a MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
The longer story:
My family moved a lot when I was growing up, as my father, a geologist, pursued his love of research and teaching. The houses, neighborhoods, and scenery changed with each move, but inside our home there were always more books than anything else.
My childhood summers were spent on an isolated lake in Maine. My father was busy mapping the geologic formations of the state while my mother, two brothers, sister and I were given the luxury of avoiding boredom. We read, swam, hiked, climbed trees and boulders, designed clam farms, caught frogs, picked leeches and blueberries, made sand candles and other things from shells, driftwood, rocks, or whatever else we found throughout the day. One summer my brothers caused a bang when their homemade still blew up. They were always making something, so that explosion wasn’t anything I paid much attention to, or even thought about, until recently. Those summers were when I perfected the art of daydreaming—one of my most important writer’s tools.
After graduating from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with a degree in Special Education, I planned to stay and teach in that small college town. But then I went to visit a friend in San Diego.
After seeing the sun and the sand and the ocean and the palm trees and burritos, along with a certain young Navy officer, I went back to Virginia and loaded my car with important things—such as a large rock with a fossil embedded in it (I am a geologist’s daughter, after all)—and then headed west where I took a job teaching in San Diego.
I’m still here. And I still love the sun and the sand and the ocean and the palm trees and burritos, along with that same young Navy officer—except he’s not quite as young or even in the Navy anymore. We now have three children who are all taller than I am. The fossil rock is under our lemon tree.
As a teacher, and later a mother, I fell in love with books for children and teens, and decided to try and write my own. I am passionate about books for young people in all forms—including those which are ready to read and those in progress. I love to talk about books and writing. I’m an active member of the San Diego SCBWI where I’ve served as a mentor. I’ve taught writing to students of all ages, from elementary school through adult.