Meet Maggie!

Reno, Nevada 1982.

Growing up, Maggie always fancied herself "creative" but could never quite pinpoint what that meant. She liked making pictures to hang on the fridge and cards to send to her grandparents and outfits for her Barbie dolls, but she never felt like she was very good at any of it.

Maggie's early work on display in her parents' garage.

Her drawings were nothing compared to her dad's (he's one of those effortlessly talented artists) and her one-of-a-kind Barbie gowns were usually little more than old tube socks with holes cut for the head and arms.

A sketch of Maggie by her dad, September 2004.

She tried every medium she could get her hands on - oil painting, pastels, photography, sculpture, you name it - and ended up taking enough classes in college to earn a minor in Fine Art (she majored in English). But nothing ever clicked the way she was hoping it would.

Van Gogh-style ink on paper, community college 1997.

Fortunately, somewhere along the way, she discovered a love for something creative that she was actually pretty good at: writing. But it wasn't until she had been at home with her son Liam for a year and a half that she finally put that love into action. In November 2007, she launched her blog, Just say NO to Mommy Brain! and has been writing humorous stories about life after motherhood ever since.

Maggie & Liam, November 2007.

Now that she was writing, she realized how much she would love to write a children's book. But when she remembered all the so-so refrigerator art her parents had probably thrown away and the less-than-stellar college portfolio she had stashed under the bed, she thought, "Maybe I could write a book but there's NO WAY I could ever illustrate it." So, she filed the idea away with all the other things she really wanted to do but was too scared to try and went back to work making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and playing hopscotch.

Hard at work...

Then right before Christmas 2008, Maggie made some holiday wall hangings for Liam's room out of cut paper and glue. They weren't fancy - just a smiling snowman, a gingerbread boy, and a red and white striped candy cane - but she had so much fun making them and really loved how they turned out. Could it be? Yes! Maggie found her medium!

After that she found any excuse she could to make cut paper art. And by the following fall, she was ready to tackle the daunting but very exciting task of making her very first children's book.

T is for Trick or Treat, October 2009.

She sat down on November 2nd with a huge stack of paper and started to make the ABCs of Christmas. The idea was to make simple pictures for each letter of the alphabet (like C for Candy Cane, F for Fireplace and W for Wreath) and then bind the whole thing together somehow (yarn? staples? an online book binder?) and give it to Liam for Christmas. But by November 5th, the project had taken on a life of it's own. Maggie was making things she had no idea she knew how to make (like people!) and had written a rhythmically engaging story that Liam begged her to read again and again. By the end of the month, Maggie had written, illustrated and self-published Christmastime to Me from A to Z. Just in time for Christmas!

Maggie is currently working on a new illustration project and trying her best to keep the tiny scraps of paper from taking over the house. She lives in East Nashville with her husband William and their two sons, Liam and Finn. They share their home with an old cat, a new dog and a fish named Dr. Seuss.

Thanksgiving, 2011.