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She was born in Chicago, Ill., attended middle school and high school in Albuquerque, N.M., and returned to the Chicago area to earn a journalism degree from Northwestern University.
Courtenay spent three years at small community newspapers in the Los Angeles area before she was hired into a one-year internship at the Chicago Tribune. Afterward she spent a year covering business news at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, then joined the staff of The Indianapolis Star, where she worked for 10 years — first in business, later in features. Courtenay joined The Californian in March 2008.
Courtenay lives with her two small children and assorted dying houseplants. She is an avid reader, collects Snoopy and Peanuts paraphernalia, and in her spare time enjoys microwaving frozen dinners. She isn’t at all bitter that her fraternal twin sister, a former cheerleader and homecoming queen, got all the skinny genes.