Meet The Authors
Amy and her husband Kevin, raised their four children on the edge of Valley Forge National Historical Park. With the National Park as her backyard, Amy became interested in preserving and protecting this national treasure. Once her children were raised, she joined the Valley Forge Park Alliance as a board member in 2016 and has been involved ever since.
Amy began her career as a teacher of the blind and visually impaired as an Orientation and Mobility specialist. She taught in the Philadelphia area for 20 years before stopping to raise her family.
Amy took up tennis when her kids began to leave the nest, even with many lessons she remains a 3.0 player but enjoys “hit and giggle” tennis with her friends every week. Recently she added platform tennis and pickle-ball to her racquet sports.
Amy loves dogs. Her husband has lost track of the number of dogs she has rescued over the years. It is not uncommon for a new rescue to greet Kevin in the morning. “Who is this? Is it ours?” is Kevin’s learned response. Presently, there are six dogs and two rescue cats living under their roof, some are good, some are a little naughty, all are loved.
Amy always wanted to write a children’s book but could never find the right story. In October of 2019, on a trip with Diane and her husband, Ed, the story was conceived on a dock on Loch Ness and born in the back seat of a rental car as we drove around the Scottish Highlands.
I have lived in Maine my entire life. I grew up in South Portland and raised my daughters, Kate and Molly, in Portland. I now live in Harrison with my husband, Ed, and our feisty cat, Rusty.
Like other parents, I read to my children often. Also like other parents, I swore my oldest daughter could read Goodnight Moon at an early age – when really she just had it memorized. My youngest daughter’s favorite book was Then the Troll Heard the Squeak by Maine author Kevin Hawkes, which she also knew by heart. Copies of these old, well-loved books still reside in our family library.
For almost ten years, I had the honor of directing a statewide health and literacy program in Maine called Raising Readers. During this time, I had the opportunity to read many, many wonderful children’s books and secretly dreamed of someday becoming a children’s book author!
Traveling to Scotland with my husband Ed in fall 2019 was the trip of lifetime. We were joined by Amy (my co-author) and her husband, Kevin, who are like our extended family. Scotland is an amazing and beautiful country and we were all so impressed with how friendly and warm the Scottish people are. It was obvious in speaking with them how much their Scottish culture means to them and how much they like to share it with foreigners. Amy and I traveled to Scotland as tourists and came home co-authors of a story about Neeps and Tattie, two sweet, rescued tortoises, who spend their winters in Annie McKay’s refrigerator.
As a new grandmother, reading The Story of Neeps and Tattie to each of my granddaughters, Leah and Sophie, was one of the best moments in my life and brought much of my life’s journey full circle. Amy and I have many more adventures planned for Neeps and Tattie!
Meet The Illustrator
Abigail Gray Swartz is an illustrator and a fine artist. She lives and works in Maine with her husband, their two children, some dogs and give or take some chickens. Her work features themes of social justice and moments of “daily magic”- celebrating time spent in nature, her love of gardening and the salty Maine sea air.
When she is not making art and running her small business, she is busy in her garden, or sewing and knitting something fun and cozy. She drew inspiration for the artwork in this book from her family trips to Scotland and her Scottish heritage, plus her love of gardening and silly pets.
Abigail has a BA in Fine Art and she earned her MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in Philadelphia.
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