I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My dad, Edward Frank Repka, was a television salesman, philosopher, and poet. My mom, Frances Repka, (formerly Butera) was a homemaker, small business owner, and tireless charitable seamstress. They had eight kids. I was the seventh of their eight children. We were raised in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, a predominately Italian/Polish blue-collar town, and all graduated from Carlynton High School.
My writing career began a few years later as a U.S. Army journalist in Fort Hood, Texas. I covered everything from training exercises to rattlesnake hunts for a weekly military newspaper. After the Army, I returned to Pittsburgh and earned a B.A. in Journalism & Communications at Point Park University. During a magazine internship in New York City, I developed an interest in the law. In 1987, I earned a J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
I married, had children and practiced law for many years, but never lost the desire to be a writer. Then one day it hit me -- dodgeball! I made up pie-throwing clowns, bicycle-riding poodles, and the unofficial dodgeball capital of the world. Sometimes I would laugh so hard, it was difficult to type. The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco was my first book. If kids have half as much fun reading it as I had writing it, I’ll consider it a huge success. My second novel, The Clueless Girl's Guide to Being a Genius, was published by Dutton Children's Books in August 2011.
In addition to writing middle grade fiction, I like to write adult literary short stories and poetry. My short stories and poetry have appeared in the Antietam Review, Writer’s Journal, The Louisiana Review, and Potomac Review.
Many years ago, I began a new chapter in my life by moving to Lousiania, where I earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Fiction and Masters in English from McNeese State University. After teaching for four years at McNeese, I accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lake Superior State University and moved to Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, where I am happily living, teaching, writing and generally enjoying all of my good fortune.
Awards and Honors
2008 Dore Endowment for Graduate Studies Writing/Research Award.
2008 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Honor Book, The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco.
2008 Nominee, Keystone to Reading Book Award, The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco.
2008 Nominee, Sunshine State Young Reader Award, The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco.
2008 Nominee, Great Stone Face Award, The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco.
2008 Nominee, Young Hoosier Book Award, The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco.
2007 Recipient of the Dore Endowment for Graduate Studies Writing/Research Award
2003 First Prize, Writer’s Journal Horror/Ghost Contest, “Bus No. 9.”
2002 First Prize, WritersWeekly.com 24-hour Short Story Contest, “Old Jews.”
2001 Antietam Review Literary Magazine Award, “Love’s Final Selection.”
1984 W. J. Thomas Scholarship Award for Special Achievement in Journalism, Point Park University.
1982 Good Conduct Medal. U.S. Army.
1980 Army Commendation Medal, U.S. Army.