Born and raised in a tiny, rural town in Michigan, Elizabeth Norton has always been a lover of books, reading, and the written word. She taught herself to read at the age of four and first professed literary aspirations at the age of six when she began writing “stories” in the first grade. That year, she was quoted in the school yearbook as saying, “When I grow up I want to be a writer.” During high school, she worked as a shelving page at her local public library and was awed by the access to free books. Her parents encouraged her to consider a career as a librarian, but Elizabeth wasn’t so sure. After all, what self-respecting child wants to be a librarian when they grow up?
Elizabeth attended Alma College, where she majored in English with minors in Spanish and vocal music performance. It was at Alma that she first encountered Joshua Mercier, the Bearded Scribe, in a voice class of only four students. When four people are constantly performing for one another, it is hard for them not to become friends, and Joshua was a true kindred spirit (and one who could sing “Stars” from Les Miserables like it was written for him, at that!). Over the next three years, they became fast friends over shared deadlines, late-night editing sessions, and innumerable cups of coffee.
After graduating from Alma, Elizabeth wanted to teach composition at a small college, but quickly realized that doing so would mean choosing just one area of literature in which to specialize for her graduate degrees—an impossible task for a lifelong lover of the written word. The next logical career choice was library science. This proved that Elizabeth’s parents were (and still are) all-knowing and always right.
Elizabeth entered the Library and Information Science Program (now known as the School of Library and Information Science) at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, in the fall of 2003. During her time at WSU, she lived in a fourth-story apartment in a building that had originally been built in the 1920s as a brothel. Although it had long since been taken over by the university and converted into apartments, it still contained many of the original fixtures—as well as the spirits of most of its original occupants. This would have been great novel fodder, but Elizabeth was too busy studying to write, earning her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Youth and Teen Services for Public Libraries in December of 2004, six weeks shy of her twenty-fourth birthday.
After library school, Elizabeth moved back home to await the mercy of the job market, working days as a substitute teacher and nights as a grocery store cashier. For the next two years, interviewing for library jobs took her to all parts of Michigan as well as several other states, until she landed her first “real” job as a children’s librarian. Unfortunately, the library underwent a severe budget crisis and Elizabeth’s position was cut after just six months. Following a brief stint of unemployment, the Commerce Township Community Library in Commerce Township, Michigan, hired her as their very first Teen Librarian.
Five years after being hired in her current position, Elizabeth is finally beginning to feel like she knows what she is doing. She develops and maintains all aspects of the Teen collections for the library and implements library programs for grades six through twelve. She is also training her very own army of devoted minions under the guise of coordinating the library’s Teen Advisory Board, so her plan for world domination is progressing nicely.
In 2011, Elizabeth applied and was accepted as a professional reviewer by Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) Magazine, a journal that focuses on teen services in libraries. After publishing several reviews in VOYA, she was just beginning to turn her thoughts back to writing fiction when she reconnected with her old friend, Joshua, and he invited her to be part of the team at The Bearded Scribe.
When not working at the library, Elizabeth enjoys cooking, reading, singing, and any kind of travel, especially tall-ship sailing. Her favorite places to write are her backyard patio and a table at a local coffee shop. She has also recently discovered an affinity for plotting at the coffee table in her living room—usually with a cup of coffee (dark roast with half-and-half and honey, please) in hand and Joshua on the other end of her iPhone as they carry out one of their infamous, late-night textathons. She lives in Metro Detroit and is working on her first, as yet untitled, novel, which features a remote monastery, gypsy curses, and monks behaving badly.
You can also find out more about her by visiting her interview post.