Beckie Weinheimer is the author of Converting Kate (Viking Books) which garnered the following awards: ALA Best Books, NYC Public Library Book of the Teen Age, Children’s Book Council Notable Book for Young People, Kliatt: Editor’s Choice: Best of the Year’s Hardcover YA Fiction. She has also published feature articles, short stories, and poems in magazines, newspapers and literary journals.
She co-taught Writing the Young Adult or Middle Grade Novel at the Writer’s Center with Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award Winner. Beckie has conducted more than 30 writer workshops from coast to coast in libraries, middle schools, high schools and universities. She has been featured in radio, newspaper and television interviews.
She has a MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College.
Beckie grew up in Utah and Arizona and was the eldest of nine children. When she was six years old her parents had eight kids. Beckie, age six, a set of twins (boy and girl, age four), a set of twins (boys, age two), and triplet girls who were babies. And then her youngest sister came all by herself when Beckie was eleven. Beckie grew up changing diapers, feeding babies and playing with a lot of siblings. Her mother had little time to read to them, but when she was ordered to stay in bed while pregnant with the triplets she read them the book HEIDI. Beckie loved it and it is still one of her favorite books. Over summer 2006 she was able to hike in the Swiss Alps and all the magic of the story she felt when she was a tiny child came back to her.
In high school she took a creative writing class and it was then she first learned that she enjoyed writing. She liked making things up. Her daughters and siblings will tell you she has always embellished stories and as a writer she gets paid for it. It’s fun!
She graduated from college with her first daughter in her arms. From there she went into full time mother mode, having two more children. The eldest had special needs and her life consumed Beckie’s life. After she died, Beckie volunteered at her other daughters’ schools but she felt empty. A good friend suggested she write about her daughter. So Beckie took a class at UCLA called writing for children and began writing.
When Beckie and her family moved from Los Angeles to Virginia it was no longer convenient to take writing classes and Beckie realized the picture book she had started really was a novel. So she applied to the Vermont College MFA program and was able to work with wonderful children’s authors, who taught her how to write novels. Writing has helped her find out who she is beyond a mother.
Beckie writes for kids and teens because she feels so much kid still left in her. Perhaps being a junior mom for so many years while growing up didn’t allow her to explore all the things kid normally do. So now she does it through her writing and it’s very fun and rewarding. Her first two novels deal with being the new kid, and since Beckie and her husband moved their children so many times, they have lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, California, Virginia, New York, and now Florida/Maine, she had to see how hard it was for them to start over. This is her way of acknowledging that to them and letting them know how much she admires their courage.
When Beckie is not writing, she loves to spend time with her husband, shopping at farmers markets, swimming in the ocean, watching movies, and traveling to their favorite two ocean spots, South Beach, Florida in the winter, and the Mount Desert Island area of Maine in the summer. While there—they walk the beaches, kayak, swim in the ocean and watch for dolphins. When her daughters come home they often re-watch their favorite family movies, including the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, the Back to the Futures, Ever After, White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and all the Charlie Brown holiday specials. Her girls and she aren’t really into cooking that much, but they love to make sugar cookies for every holiday—green shamrocks, orange pumpkins, red white and blue flags, and valentine hearts. At Christmas time we get really fancy and have a big gingerbread house making party. Beyond that, Beckie reads, and listens to books on her iPhone and enjoys shopping. Oh yes, she likes to clean. She knows. That’s weird.