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Cynthia Voigt






United States of America


Deer Isle




United States of America

When I was I child I loved to read Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, and The Black Stallion. One day at my grandmother's house, I discovered The Secret Garden and read it. This was the first book I found entirely for myself, and I cherished it.

By the time I started high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. After graduating from Smith College in Massachusetts, I moved to New York City and worked for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. I married in 1964 and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I ended up teaching. In college, I had vowed I would never teach, but the minute I walked into a classroom, I loved it.

After my divorce, I moved to Maryland. While working full-time, I decided to take up writing again and stuck to a regime of writing one hour a day. I taught English to second, fifth, and seventh graders at the Key School in Annapolis. To see what books were available for my older students, I made many trips to the library. If a book looked interesting, I checked it out — I once went home with 30 books! It was then that I realized that kids' novels had the shape of real books, and I began to get ideas for young adult novels and juvenile books. That first year of teaching and reading really paid off!

In 1974 I married Walter Voigt, a teacher of Latin and Greek at the Key School. When I became pregnant, I decided to teach part-time and to dedicate more time to writing.

My writing process often begins with a question. I write down ideas and let them stew for about a year. Then, when I sit down to write, I make a list of characters and try to see how they fit.

I enjoy almost everything I do, perhaps because when I don't enjoy something, I don't do it. I enjoy writing; I enjoy teaching; I enjoy having a family to live among. I am neither a feminist nor an antifeminist, because it seems to me that we are first human beings and after that men and women. Human beings have, so far, proved interesting enough to keep me busy just trying to figure out what might be right and true about them.

Susan Cheyney

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