When Gretchen was little, getting into trouble was rather easy. Not like it is now, so many parents distracted by their iPads that they forget to mete out appropriate punishments upon their off-spring. No, Gretchen was in trouble a lot. She was a devious child, always forgetting to make her bed on time, or leaving her things outside to be ruined by the rain, or refusing to eat steak on Sunday nights. On these frequent occasions, her parents trapped her in her bedroom. But these instances from her childhood marked moments of singular pleasure for Gretchen, as her bedroom was a not-so-secret library. It was filled with row upon row of books. Okay, well, like three rows. But they were rather filled-up. Being sent her room to wile away several hours was not a punishment, but a respite, an opportunity to retreat from the stimulation of the company of others and fall into another world. This cycle continued until one day her parents followed her into her room, picked up her bookshelf, and carried it out. Gretchen has really still not recovered, hoarding books far into adulthood, the time during which silly habits like book hoarding should long ago have been rooted out.
Gretchen is the author of The Apothecary’s Apprentice. After a brief stint as a bank teller (where, weirdly, math matters), she taught literature to grateful and receptive teens for twelve years. Now retired, she spends her days wrangling words into obedient order, running her two monkeys to and from their learning cages, learning how to poison people with plants, and consuming decidedly inappropriate amounts of caffeine in the process.