Although I’ve lived in Maine for most of my adult life, I’m a native New Yorker. My artist mom took my brother and me to as many museums as playgrounds and gave us a monthly book allowance. My dad set up a darkroom for me and bought me a microscope when I eschewed dolls. They tolerated my bedroom menagerie: a self caught snake, a lab rescued toad, and two neurotic cats. I was a city girl who craved the wilderness.
I still have a group of close friends from my 15 years at the Dalton School. I was the photography editor of our newspaper and packed my schedule with art and science. Wishing I had a dog, I volunteered at an animal shelter. On weekends we danced at clubs, skipping the party scene at school. Manhattan was a fun place to be a teen.
At Harvard College I majored in Government and spent my junior year abroad atKing's College, London.Although more artsy than sporty, I rode for the Equestrian Team and rowed intramural crew. I received a masters in Political Science from M.I.T., focusing on envirnomental policy. I worked for several environmental organizations and as a manager of a study abroad program for high school students.
When my British husband became a professor of Japanese Politics at Bowdoin College, we moved to Maine. It was quite a shock for a city girl to live in a small town where the trees outnumbered the people and winters were long. Locals look at my curly black hair and olive skin and ask, “No, where are you really from?” I may fit in better in New York, but I adapted to love skiing, swimming, and hiking. Our kids attended Hebrew School and we’ve lived abroad so they would understand their mixed cultural heritage.
The beautiful coastal landscape led me to a career in the arts. I paint watercolors during the summer in Maine and on Nantucket Island. This website is a virtual gallery for my paintings and photos. My clients include Senator Angus King and author Jane Green.
During the long winters, I read by the fire and write young adult fiction. My life in Maine inspired a story about a harbor town girl, who craves the big city, and a lobster fisherman, who loves his remote island. This young adult novel is a modern-day retelling of a classic tale with a feminist twist.
Several years ago, my family took a sabbatical at Oxford University. My son was a day boy at Abingdon, a boarding school for boys, and my daughter learned how to play cricket at the local state school. We visited my husband's family in the rural West Country. Inspired by our experiences, I wrote a YA novel about culture clash, romance, and cricket. Read more about my Sabbaticals in England on my blog.
This academic year I’ve joined my husband on a two-country sabbatical. In Japan I gathered material for a YA novel about a Maine girl who goes to Tokyo for a manga internship. Back in England, I’ve been updating my British YA novel. Living in a foreign country makes you see home and the rest of the planet from a fresh perspective. My favorite books transport the reader to another world.
Photo of Sarah and her dog Stella by Jennifer Mirsky. Photo of Sarah in the White Mountains by Colin Laurence. Photo of Sarah in her Tokyo tatami room/office by Henry Laurence. All other photos and painting by Sarah Laurence.