A good biography

Since I read a lot of biographies because I write a lot of biographies, I have a unique perspective on the form. Most bios, the short ones that you find on a person’s blog or on the back of their books, are boring. It’s true. They’re a bunch of facts that don’t give you much of a feel for the person.

Sure, bios are supposed to be factual, but couldn’t they also be interesting? As writers, we spend a lot of time working on the voice of our characters. So when it comes to our own personal voice, we should pay as much attention.

I admit I’m guilty. A couple of weeks ago at a speaking engagement, someone read my short bio to the audience. It sounded so stiff, that when I got to the podium I felt the need to apologize. So here are some ideas for crafitng a more interesting bio.

a) Think about how you’d introduce yourself to someone at a party. Use that voice.

b) Include the important facts (where you’re from, what you do, any awards).

c) Include some interesting facts (you like pink? Me too!).

A good photo is also essential.

My new bio:

I’m from Trinidad, which is the best island on the planet.

I’ve wanted to write since I was three and my mother bought me an oversized illustrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It was so spellbindingly beautiful, I thought I wanted to live in its pages my entire life. And now that I write for a living, my three-year old self is perfectly satisfied, but my adult self throws the occasional tantrum because nobody told me writing was going to be so hard.

My debut novel was Angel’s Grace. It was named one of the 100 best books for reading and sharing by NYC librarians. I’ve always liked librarians. It was also the first novel I ever tried to write (except for the one when I was 12, but let’s not go there.)

I write middle grade fiction and non-fiction, but my main experience with words is blurting out things that I have to apologize for later. Pity I have no editor for my real life.

I married a saint. Sometimes saints are annoying.

I have two young children who are very entertaining, even when they’re not.

I like pink.

I think the Sci Fi movie “Mansquito” is a classic. And it totally is.

I also like musicals. Like Les Miz.

And cookies. Chocolate chip.

I like dogs, but don’t have one.

I love ice-cream, but can’t eat any.

I wish I could give tickets to people who make up their own driving/parking rules.

I think that whatever book I’m working on at the moment is my favorite.


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