Readers ask if I always wanted to be a writer. The truth is I aspired to be a model, but God missed the memo. Or maybe he was very wise because instead of giving me a swimsuit body he gave me a great sense of humor and a name people would remember.

My first hint I was a funny writer was when a school secretary confessed that my notes from home were being circulated among the teachers. And yet I nearly blew my first chance to be published.

On a lark I had submitted an essay about neurotic parents and their trophy kids to the New York Times. One evening a woman called from the paper, but being deep in mommy mode I had forgotten about my submission and went off on a rant. How dare she interrupt dinner to sell us a subscription when we already had home delivery? Not good. She had called to say the Times would publish my essay to which I replied, “Hold on. I’ll get Saralee.” Then I finished the conversation in a very deep voice.

After it was published I became hooked on writing about parenting and got an idea for a book. I figured out the entire plot but was left with one question. Did I have the courage to try my hand at writing a novel? Luckily, yes and there was no looking back.

I am indebted to my editor, Lyssa Keusch, at Avon Books (HarperCollins) for publishing my four sassy suburban novels, A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE, CLAIRE VOYANT, FATE AND MS. FORTUNE and DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD.

And now I am proud to share that I wrote my first novel for middle-grade readers. My hope is that TOUGH COOKIE will inspire girls to bravely explore their passions no matter how many people tell them they can’t.

As my readers know, I live for a happy ending and my books do too.

Discover Saralee's Work in Progress