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I, K.A. Nuzum (pronounced NEW-zum), am a native Coloradan. I am from the wild, wild eastern plains where the winds whip up to 120 mph in January, and the temperature in August can rise to 107 dry degrees. I am a WESTERNER, and proud of it.

There was no man in our house when I was a sprout; my mother was a widow woman (she remarried when I was 10 -- to the best dad in the world). There was however, a plethora of books. My mother loved books, my sister loved books, I loved books. We all loved writers.

My sister and I also loved COWBOYS! I spent the Sunday afternoons of my early youth at a local ranch with my sister, relaxing in the bucket seats of her pink De Soto watching local cowboys wrestle local steers.

I began writing stories in third grade. My first, "The Adventures of Super Star" was composed on one of many Thursday evenings that I spent at the town bowling alley with my girlfriend and her parents. The parents bowled, my friend and I wrote stories.

As I grew, other passions beckoned. When I hit adolescence, my fondness for somersaults and backbends evolved into a love of dancing - ballroom dancing. I spent my late teens and twenties following the rhythm muse, teaching and performing at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Denver, Colorado and then the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Columbus, Ohio.

When my dancing shoes wore thin, I returned to school at Colorado University and earned B.A.s in Comparative Religions and Environmental Conservation. Vacations I spent traveling through Mexico in the copilot's seat of my college sweetheart's tiny, 1939 rag-wing, tail-dragging Luscombe airplane -- dodging heavy squalls in the air and nasty little scorpions on the ground.

Eventually, after career adventures in recycling; radio; and horticulture, I bumped into my future husband; convinced him to marry me; moved onto a small farm and brought two rambunctious boys into the world.

The family quickly expanded to include other species. Right now we number four people, thirteen farm animals (two horses, three cats, five dogs, one pot-bellied pig, one hen, one tropical fish) and 1.5 million wild rabbits (approximately)!

When my boys matured and the dogs were all finally house-trained, I returned to my writing. I earned my M.F.A. from Vermont College in 2003 in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

My first novel, A SMALL WHITE SCAR, was published by Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins in 2006. It was nominated as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and named a Top Ten First Novel by Booklist.

My second novel, THE LEANIN' DOG, is the story of a young girl afraid to venture beyond the confines of her cabin, a stray dog afraid of being trapped in small spaces, and the friendship that heals them both. It debuted on September 30, 2008, also from Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins.