Mary grew up in a small Massachusetts town with ten brothers and sisters, a cat, a dog, a rabbit, and in the winter horses from a nearby farm. She spent her early years running in the woods, catching snakes, playing games, putting on plays and circuses, going to work with her Dad to clean the houses he built, drawing horses, pretending to be a horse, stacking firewood, baking, swimming, playing soccer, catching fireflies, and to get out of the supper dishes, reading books (Roald Dahl was the favorite) to her younger siblings. Her first book, Snakes, Snakes and More Snakes, was never published, though she continued to write poems.
After high school, she boarded her first plane to UC Berkeley where she studied poetry with Robert Hass, August Kleinzahler, Thom Gunn, Ishmael Reed and Robert Pinsky, and paid her way to an English degree with a minor in Creative Writing by working at a cafe. One of her early poems turned into her first novel, Stay. She went on to publish two more novels, Ship Sooner and Dear Blue Sky (Middle Grade), and to ghostwrite for the “Beacon Street Girls” series. She is the recipient of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, and a St. Botolph’s Award. High, her first novel-in-verse, is told through fourteen-year-old Ceti, who is a shooting star on the soccer field, but at home struggles with her Mom’s heroin addiction. Mary hopes all the kids who read High will hold on to their dreams—will choose life—instead of having that first high.
Mary currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and their four children, where she still tries to get out of doing the supper dishes, but no longer catches snakes. She teaches at Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension and is a freelance editor. Her favorite color is blue. She can be found at: marysullivan.net