Caroline McAlister was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. When she was 12 (sixth grade), her father had a sabbatical and took the family to Europe for a year where she became interested in foreign languages and cultures. These interests have helped her in her writing and research. The summer before she left home for college, she travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico with a tennis team from Sacramento. She worked some of the smells, sounds and sights from that trip into her first book, ¡Holy Molé!
She has not taken a straight path to becoming a children’s writer, but when she looks back she realizes that’s what she always wanted to be. Her childhood notebooks prove that she intended to write legends and fairy tales from the very beginning.
In graduate school, McAlister wrote a dissertation and several articles on 17th century poet, John Milton. Later, she worked as an English Professor. Then, she fell in love again with books by reading to her two children, Abby and Allie. She began to write children’s books in her head, then moved to the computer, and then started sending them out to publishers. It took several years to get her first book published, but playing junior tennis and writing a dissertation taught her tenacity.
McAlister now lives in Greensboro, North Carolina where she teaches writing part time at Guilford College. She tries to write something every day and send out a manuscript every week.