About the Author:
Born in Philippi on September 15, 1969, I am the eighth generation of my family to come from West Virginia.Â When I was five years old, we moved to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where I graduated from high school in 1987.
That fall, I began studying English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. There, at an ice cream social the day before classes of my freshman year, I met Karl Laskas, whom I was evidently destined to marry. If it sounds too sweet to be real, we evidently thought so too, because we didn't begin dating until the next February. What's funny is that we were both seriously academics as we were devoutly religious -- and throw some progressive political thinking in their too. Not a combination you see everyday. In a University of thousands of people, pretty much the entire campus had decided that we were perfect for each other and couldn't figure out why it took us so long to figure it out ourselves!
Karl and I married upon his graduation in 1990, and soon after left for New Haven, CT so he could begin graduate studies at Yale University.Â I attended Pitt during the summers and graduated in 1992.Â The Connecticut move was only the first in a long string -- we moved to Washington DC in 1993, to Northern VA in 1994, and then to Charlottesville, VA so Karl could attend Law School at the University of Virginia.
In 1996 our son Brennan (named for the Supreme Court Justice) was born.Â During these years in Charlottesville, my work began to be noticed, and when Karl began his law practice in Cleveland OH in 1999, I began to submitting the novel THE MIDWIFE'S TALE to agents.Â It was signed in 2000 and published in 2003 by The Dial Press, an imprint of Random House.Â Drawn from family stories, THE MIDWIFE'S TALE received a starred review in LIBRARY JOURNAL, as well as awards for Outstanding Contribution to Appalachia and Best Appalachian Novel.
Never able to stay in one place (if we had been born 100 years earlier, we'd have been the ones travelling in covered wagons, a la LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE) we moved back to Northern VA in 2001 and have been here ever since -- only one move in six years!Â My latest young adult novel, THE MINER'S DAUGHTER, was published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in February 2007.Â Also taken from family and West Virginia history, THE MINER'S DAUGHTER is the story of the 1930's coal camps and how church and secular organizations came together in order to bring families out of poverty -- a subject I feel very passionate about.
Meeting and hearing from readers is one of the best parts of being a writer. Thank you for your support, not only for my novels, but for reading overall!