I jumped into publishing after graduating with my BA from West Chester University (go Rams!), where I’d studied English Literature and Russian language, because, clearly, I had no intention of ever snagging a job with a livable salary. After working as the managing editor for a national law book publisher, freelancing for the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and then managing two trade magazines, I realized that if I had to sit in a cubicle and edit one more piece of another person’s work instead of creating something myself, I’d end up poking myself in the eye with my red pencil. Three years later I had another student loan bill and an MA from Notre Dame of Maryland University (go Gators!), and was soon teaching English to high school students by day and Immaculata University students by night.
As much as I loved teaching (no sarcasm, here: there is massive joy to be found in making lesson plans, and watching teenagers interpret analogy in Yeats poems, and school cafeteria hash browns), I wanted to do more. I began contributing to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Harrisburg Patriot-News, writing from the perspective of a newlywed urban expatriate adjusting to life in the suburbs. After I left teaching when my first child was born, I turned my focus to fiction and creative nonfiction, fitting my writing around the corners of a life raising kiddos to be good grown-ups. I blog here on One Vignette about the monotonous chaos of life as a full-time parent (sometimes with thoughtful reflection, more often with stream-of-conscious cries for help), which I started as a way to make sure I was continually writing, and also because I was too disorganized to keep an actual baby book. I also founded a Tumblr blog called What the Duchess Isn’t Doing, where you’ll find a slew of funny photos that make fun of the lack of glamour in our everyday lives.
(I still haven’t lost my knack for seeking out the high-paying gigs.)
Born on Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, I was raised in Carlisle, a small Pennsylvania college town. After college, I moved to Philadelphia, and then Baltimore, before returning to my roots to raise our family. I live in Pennsylvania now with a really smart and good-looking guy I met in Baltimore and got lucky enough to marry, our two young daughters and toddler son, a rescued lab/husky mix who is sweet as can be and likes to ruin my house, and a tail-less cat who frequently deposits barf into my running shoes. I’m a lapsed vegetarian with a sugar addiction. I’m also an organic food-cooking suburban hippie who thinks exercise is awesome when I actually do it, Morrissey is still worth idolizing, Notre Dame reigns above all (Go Irish!) and a glass of wine at four-thirty in the afternoon is perfectly okay if I’m cooking dinner (right?).
In a nutshell (you knew I’d get here eventually), I read when I should be writing, write when I should be folding laundry, and hug my kids whenever they tackle me on their way into the room. I’m represented by Katie Shea Boutillier of Donald Maass Literary Agency, and am thrilled that my debut novel, All the Difference, was published by Penguin Random House’s Berkley Books in September 2015. You’ve all been so supportive of me, and I can’t thank you enough for cheering me on. Please head on over to leahfergusonauthor.com if you want more book-y stuff: Book #2 is currently in Katie’s hands (and I’m hard at work on Book #3) and can’t wait to talk more about them with you. I’m also super active on Instagram if you want to hang out with me over there, too.
I’m glad you stopped by.
xo – Leah