An Interview with Don Gallo, Becoming a Writer:

DG: Tell us a bit about the education that led to you being a writer.

VEW: I was an okay student who didn't get ignited till the summer before my junior year in high school.I'd finally begun to read substantial books. I pleased most English teachers because I was a born speller and had a Chomskian sense of syntax. The fact that I'm a slow reader has hobbled me throughout my life. Looking at it now, I know that it hasn't been the worst thing that could happen. I'm still a slow reader, able to hear the rhythm (or lack of it) in whatever I read.

The public high school I attended in ninth grade closed as a high school at the end of that year. At the beginning of eleventh grade, I went to boarding school in Portland, and I stayed at the boarding school through high school graduation. It was called St. Helen's Hall then, and is now Oregon Episcopal School.

I majored in English at Smith College, and married almost immediately after graduation. I gave birth to two children and spent the next years being a full-time mother. When my son, Anthony, was seven and my daughter, Juliet, was five, I began teaching school. We moved from city to city because of my former husband's work (in theatre and television), and by this time we lived in Philadelphia. I taught for four years at The Miquon School near Philadelphia, which our children attended. It's a John Dewey school, founded in 1932 and still flourishing. Then we moved again and I taught little kids at the Fiedel School on Long Island, New York. I moved again, returning to Oregon, and began teaching high school English, which I continued to do until 1998.

Don Gallo, who hosts a website called Authors4Teens, published an interview with Virginia in 2000, before the publication of True Believer in 2001 and This Full House in 2009. Excerpts from that interview may be found here, as well as some newer material.

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