The Long Bio
"When did you know you wanted to be a writer?" I never didn't know.
Story has been my deepest love since before I could read. And I was serious about it. I watched Mary Poppins when I was around five years old and thought the idea of a carousel horse joining a real horse on a racetrack was insultingly ridiculous. After my kindergarten teacher showed Charlotte's Web in class, I retreated to a corner to weep over the spider's death until my mom picked me up.
In first grade, I wrote my first story. It was about a pink elephant named Andrea. I had no choice in the subject matter; the blank create-your-own-storybook had an elephant on the cover, not a person. I thought this was stupid (a horse, great, but an elephant?), but I made it work. Andrea got lost in the woods, and an angel led her home. I intended to write a sprawling generational elephant saga, but my attention drifted once the angel reunited Andrea with her grandparents (she was an orphan, of course).
In second grade, I wrote my second story in a yellow spiral-bound notebook (no cover meant no story restrictions). It was a typical girl-and-her-horse story with one exception. I killed the horse. I no longer remember my motivation for this--edginess? drama? legitimate curiosity as to what my main character would do now? (Turns out not much, since I gave her a new horse straightaway and then ended the book.) That same girl came back for two more stories, one in which she learned to forgive the kid responsible for the death of Horse Number One. I've always loved a series.
I kept writing. I never stopped. Fiction got put on hold in college, while I worked on a Bachelor's of Science in English (the writing track, of course). In those few years, I gobbled craft books. I inhaled literature and literature and more literature. I wrote research essays and personal essays and rhetorical analysis and literary criticism. I worked in the language lab and, if nobody came in, attempted to wax poetic and/or philosophical in my online journal (anybody remember Talk 'N' Jot?). I graduated in December 2003 and started my series, Haven Seekers, in January 2004.
I wrote Book One, scrapped it, started over, rewrote, revised, read more craft books, started over again. I literally could not (my brain refused to) retire it to a drawer or work on something new, despite reading again and again that most authors do not publish their first novel. For eight years, I revised and rewrote the same book. In 2011, I drafted Book Two. In 2012, I was offered agent representation, and in 2013, the Haven Seekers series was contracted for traditional publication.
These days (2020 and beyond), I'm publishing Haven Seekers again after the rights returned to me last year, and I'm not currently working with an agent. I'm also writing a new series, No Less Days, about a "found family" of people who quit aging in the 1800s and can't be killed by injuries either. The concept might have started as a nod to my inner "old soul," to the corner of my story-brain that's never quite satisfied with portrayals of immortality in fiction no matter how well I enjoy them. It has evolved into a saga of ethical dilemmas, deep friendships, and tough but loyal community.
So the thing I knew in first grade is still true: I'm a writer. I can't conceive not being one. Sometimes my well of words runs low, and sometimes I don't know how the book will ever be finished, and sometimes a character stonewalls me when I try to dig into his deepest self. But I'm still a writer. It's so hard and so exhilarating. Words, sentences, characters--all of these are God's good, kind gift to me. I pray my stories will always glorify Him.