Hester Young was born in Boston on the tenth of November, right around the time of year that New England begins its transformation from a place of colorful leaves and bountiful harvest to a sad display of autumnal decay. A November baby in both mind and spirit, Hester taught herself to read at the age of four and soon gravitated towards books with tragically orphaned heroines. Her favorite games as a child involved climbing trees, sword fighting playmates with sticks, and trying to escape from an imaginary internment camp.
Hester began writing in the first grade. Her early works were diverse in their subject matter, covering such topics as elephant death, selective mutism, and killer bells. As a high school freshman, she authored a long-running soap opera for her friends which featured said friends having passionate and tumultuous relationships with assorted film and television heartthrobs, plus some cute seniors. Though her audience was admittedly limited in scope, the experience taught her the joys of an actual readership.
She attended Tufts University, majoring in English and minoring in Latin American studies. Hester spent a year abroad studying at University College London, where she fell in love with geeky courses in phonology and English syntax and grammar, despite her British phonology professor forever mocking her for pronouncing the “r” in her own name.
Eager to escape the harsh winters of her native New England, she moved to Tucson after college. By day, she worked as a preschool teacher in a bilingual Headstart classroom; by night, she served as a relay operator for the deaf. She eventually left the Arizona desert to attend the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Although her two years on the island of Oahu did produce a Masters degree in English, she remembers them mainly as time spent scuba-diving, singing karaoke with her Japanese roommate, and failing, in spectacular fashion, to surf. (Her ill-fated surfing attempt and its resulting scars surprised no one, given Hester’s lifelong struggle to operate in three-dimensional space.) She also wrote a lot of fiction, with windows open and geckos singing to her from the folds of the curtains.
Following graduation, Hester returned to the east coast and began a five-year stint in southern New Hampshire as a high school English teacher. From her adventures teaching teenagers the art of fiction writing, she learned more than in all her previous years of higher ed. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and two young children, writing full-time whenever her children are not home sick or snow-bound or on school vacation or a holiday, i.e. not nearly enough. Hester spends November to February of each year wondering why she ever left Hawai’i.
Author photograph courtesy of Francine Daveta Photography.
Beads photograph courtesy of Carolyn Wise.