Coleen Murtagh Paratore
With 17 books published in her first eight years as an author, Coleen Murtagh Paratore loves sharing what she has learned with great enthusiasm and encouragement. Every time she speaks about writing, she holds up her library card. “I am a writer because I was a reader.” She credits her mother with taking her on the bus each Saturday to the city library to collect her “treasures” for the week.
Her work includes the bestselling novel The Wedding Planner’s Daughter (Simon & Schuster) — now a six-book series, soon to be a movie, about a girl who loves to read and is committed to paying her “community rent,” continually finding new ways to make positive contributions in the world. Her work also includes the critically acclaimed Sunny Holiday series; and award-winning picture books including 26 Big Things Small Hands Do (Free Spirit) and the soon, “BIG” (Little Pickle Press) with an app featuring a daily “big idea.”
Her new novel, Dreamsleeves (Scholastic Press), about a girl who wants to teach the world a new way to dream, has received praise by bestselling authors Laurie Halse Anderson and Jerry Spinelli. Kirkus applauds Dreamsleeves as an “inspirational story that will resonate with a wide range of readers.”
Coleen graduated magna cum laude from The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY with a BA in English/Communications. She wrote for a public relations/advertising firm in Hartford, CT, while working towards her master's degree in English at Trinity College.
First a publicist at Russell Sage College, Troy, NY and then Director of Communications for the Sage Colleges, Albany and Troy, NY, she left to found Books Worth Writing to publish The Remembering Book, an heirloom tribute to a loved ones’ life, inspired by the loss of her best friend to cancer.
A writer of poems, plays, and essays since the 4th grade, Coleen never wrote a story until several decades later as she cut back to part-time work, teaching public speaking as an adjunct instructor at Russell Sage, and doing communications consulting work as she raised her three sons, Christopher, Connor, and Dylan, now 22, 19, and 17.
“When they were little, we devoured stories together," she describes. "We'd fill an L.L. Bean sack full of books each week; snuggle up on the couch, and read, read, read. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in addition to it being enormously FUN, this was fabulous research. As I was devoting my best creative energy to my children and sharing my love of books with them, I was soaking in lessons in characterization, plotting, structure and language...feeding my muse and finding my voice.” Eventually story ideas began to come to her, “delightfully unexpected… like fireflies on a summer night.”
Although Coleen lives with her family in Troy, New York, she frequently speaks to educators and librarians at state and national conferences and festivals and enjoys meeting librarians, teachers, and students across the country. To learn about her author appearances and writing workshops visit her online. www.coleenparatore.com.