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Rachel Vail

Born: New York, United States of America

Current Home: New York, United States of America

Rachel Vail

Rachel Vail is the author of many beloved picture books and novels, including Righty and Lefty, Jibberwillies at Night, Sometimes I'm Bombaloo, the Mama Rex & T series, Lucky, and You Maybe.

"When I began writing novels, I promised myself I would be completely honest about how it really feels - to each of my characters - to live through a particular crisis point in growing up," says Rachel. "I used all the acting training I'd had to get into each character: to know how her body moved, to understand the secret he kept from everyone, to feel her shame or pride or hope or humiliation as I walked, in her character, in my imagination, through the halls of middle school. Now that I am also writing books for younger readers, I find that the process remains pretty much the same - I try to learn everything about every character, and I ask myself lots of 'what if' questions... What if a highly anticipated playdate with a best friend goes horribly? What if a really good kid has a total meltdown?"

Rachel loves talking with kids - hearing their stories and reactions, discussing their hopes and their worries. "I get many of my ideas from the letters I receive and the schools I visit, from my own memories and from daily life with my two children," she explains. "I had never planned to be a writer; I wanted to be a spy or a lobbyist or a teacher or maybe something to do with theater. I wanted to do something difficult and important. But I asked myself, as I ask each of my characters, what do you like most in the world? The answer was (and is): I like stories, I like books, I like to hear people laugh and watch them think, I like to sip milky tea while wearing comfy clothes, I like sentences. And so here I sit, in a little room by myself, day after day, making things up until they feel real."

Rachel grew up in New Rochelle, NY, in a suburban house with her mother, father, brother, sometimes a dog, and usually a bird. "I went to Georgetown University in Washington DC in hopes of pursuing a career as a spy," says Rachel. "but quickly opted instead for a major in English and theater. I worked as a tutor, a babysitter, a terrible waitress, a bookstore clerk, and backstage at a theater, before quitting everything to write my first book (Wonder) and haven't had a real job since. I am married to one of my best friends in the world, a guy who grew up down the street from me, and we have two terrific sons, Zachary and Liam. We live in New York City."

Want to know more? Visit www.rachelvail.com

List of Books by Rachel Vail