Lauren Carroll comes from a long line of mavericks and black sheep. According to family history, her ancestors include the Billingtons, the Mayflower’s most cantankerous family, and the Waters clan, who got busted in antebellum North Carolina for interracial marriage. Twice. In two different generations. (Eventually they got the drift and joined the next pioneer outfit heading West.)
Which might explain why Lauren’s stories are filled with characters who cross boundaries, speak their mind, or quietly don’t follow the rules. At least that’s one possible explanation seeing as how she’s actually a shy, unassuming, small person.
In elementary school, Lauren read every biography about Cleopatra and Sacajawea in the San Diego library system. By the end of high school, she had devoured John Wesley Powell’s The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons and all of John Muir’s books. She was looking for strong women role models who could explore new territories and rule vast empires, but unfortunately Princess Leia and Beyoncé were still off in the future. (#WeNeedDiverseBooks!) After a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an M.A. in Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Lauren left coastal California and headed into the mountains.
Employment opportunities in the rural West can be hard to come by and peculiar. Lauren has helped fight water wars, weighed trucks for a pumice mine, curated a traveling exhibit on Nisenan-Maidu culture, created a language preservation program for a Paiute tribe, designed nature trails for the U.S. Forest Service, rebuilt a small town library collection after a catastrophic fire, played in a band that performed in ghost towns, taught writing and World Religions in a twelve room college, produced her own radio show (using actual vinyl), and helped organize a world-class photography symposium in one of the least populated counties in America.
Through it all she’s raised a family, edited arts and environmental publications, and written several books. She is one of a handful of authors whose book tours have taken them below sea level. The promotional trek for Death Valley and the Northern Mojave — A Visitor’s Guide included a reading at Furnace Creek, California, elevation -214 feet. She wrote and illustrated an educational coloring book, Among Us: Life in a Nisenan-Maidu Village, and her essay “Singing the Fins” was included in From the Island’s Edge, published by Graywolf Press.
Lauren has received a Jackpot Grant and a Professional Development Grant from the Nevada Arts Council. She’s grateful for residencies at the Pacific University MFA in Writing Program and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, both in Oregon. And she was honored to serve on the board of the Alaska-based Sitka Symposium on Human Values and the Written Word for many magical years.
When she’s not trying to give fictional characters interesting lives, Lauren loves learning hula, growing rhubarb, playing stringed instruments, exploring rugged places, and Nordic skiing on spring crust.