About Alexis O'Neill
I used to think that being a good writer meant that you had good penmanship.
I don’t think that anymore.
(Although good penmanship does help a lot if you want others to read what you’ve written.)
My luckiest day happened when I was born in Boston to parents with Irish (by way of County Cork) and Scottish (by way of Nova Scotia) roots who loved to sing and tell stories and jokes.
My older brother, younger sister and husband are great joke-tellers. I am not. But I’m a good laugher, no matter how many times I’ve heard the same joke. I discovered, though, that I was good at writing things down on paper, so that’s how I ended up doing what I do now – writing books for kids.
When we moved from South Boston to Wakefield, Massachusetts, I discovered my first profession: I became a teacher at the age of seven. My dad brought home a discarded blackboard from his factory and nailed it up in our garage.
With some chalk and my mom’s old portable typewriter that came in a tailored suitcase, I set up for business, roping kids from the neighborhood into being my students. It was very satisfying. I decided that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I did.
My second profession started when I was in 6th grade: I became a writer. Only I didn’t realize this until much, much later. When my teacher, Mr. La Bossiere, read my report on Ireland (which was slightly fictionalized) out loud to the class and my classmates liked it, I knew I was on to something.
I used the “almost a report” technique in many classes to follow in junior high and high school, including history and science. Topics included The Alamo, The Defeat of the Spanish Armada, The Life and Works of Sir William Thomson, Three Sides of Washington Irving,
Teachers applauded my creativity. Many read my writing out loud. Classmates complimented me. And I liked the feeling. I didn’t know then that I’d grow up to be a writer after becoming a teacher. But I did. And I love my life.
So that’s the short of it.
If you want to know the longer version with specifics, click here for my “official” biography.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope we might meet someday!
I Believe . . .
Here’s what I believe:
I believe in the power of books to connect hearts and heads and make us better people.
I believe that knowledge is power.
I believe that persistence pays off.
I believe that children’s authors inspire readers and motivate change.
I believe that art (writing, music, fine art, drama, dancing) saves.
I believe that life is good.
Favorite books: In elementary school - The Secret Pencil by Patricia Ward and The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. In junior high school – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. In high school: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Favorite sport: swimming
Favorite food: anything chocolate, and lobster dripping in butter
Favorite music: country, Irish, and Broadway musicals
Favorite plays: Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Favorite movies: LA Story, The Quiet Man, Miracle on 34th Street, Despicable Me, Frozen
Favorite instrument: fiddle (and wish I could play it!)
Favorite pastimes: reading, making cards, knitting hats, and learning how to play the ukulele
Favorite color: turquoise
Favorite scent: pine
Favorite pet: cats, of course
Favorite science fair project: “Mollusks!”
Favorite family vacations: 1) Milton Three Ponds. NH 2) Tampa, FL, and 2) Bermuda
Favorite working trips: Ireland
Favorite place to visit in any city of the world: libraries
Favorite subjects in school: English, art, drama, music