McKinley grew up in Alaska where she learned to shoot a pistol and use a CB radio. She then attended Catholic school in California, despite not being one bit Catholic. There she learned "Hail Mary" in Spanish and how to gracefully jump a chain link fence in a plaid skirt. Her love of physics propelled her to get a mechanical engineering degree. Her fascination with the biblical history inspired her to ride through Israel on a bicycle where was escorted out of the West Bank by an Israeli army jeep.
McKinley’s musical about physics and Catholic school, "Gracie and the Atom," will debut in Portland, OR at Artists Repertory Theater on April 27th, 2010. She is currently living in Portland and Los Angeles.
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