When I was a kid, I thought I’d grow up to be an artist, not a writer. I drew pictures and built furniture for my Barbies and stuffed animals out of shoeboxes, I repurposed toilet paper tubes and Popsicle sticks for craft projects, and I had more crayons and coloring books than any one kid could possibly need. But I was a writer then, whether I knew it or not.
How I became a writer
I reimagined and rewrote fairy tales and made my own illustrations to go with them. I had solid penmanship throughout grade school and often practiced writing with my non-dominant hand. I spent more of my own money on books, journals, and writing utensils than anybody else I knew.
Still, it didn’t occur to me that I was a writer and that I wanted to write until I reached my mid-teens. It was too late by then. I was hooked. Thankfully, most of those early stories are written in longhand in some of the aforementioned journals and are safely hidden away in a filing cabinet, never to see the light of day. Not to say they’re all bad, but they’re not especially good, either.
Put another way, I needed to write those stories so I could begin that long, arduous journey that is learning how to write and write well. I’m just glad that journey doesn’t require me to share everything I’ve written.
What I write
I have always been a bit noncommittal in terms of genre. I’ve written a couple horror stories and a draft of a horror novel, more angsty YA and new adult chick lit than I’d like to admit, a space opera, a couple screenplays, and I’ve even given the old whodunit a try. It’s not that I’m indecisive – though I am – it’s more that I love learning, and I’m one of those who learns by doing. What seems like a haphazard trial-and-error process of bouncing from one genre to another was in fact extremely helpful in discovering my strengths, as well as identifying the things I still have a lot to learn about and improve on.
My interests and preferences are diverse, but so far, I found I enjoy working within the mystery, suspense, crime and thriller genres best. These are typically what I go for when I read – Elmore Leonard, Agatha Christie, and Michael Connelly are regulars in my to-be-read pile – but these are also the stories I enjoy telling. I like exploring a character’s dark side, learning what an ordinary person does when thrown into a police investigation, finding out where their loyalties lie, and how far a person would go when it’s a matter of life or death.
I studied philosophy in college and I loved the challenge that those classes and topics offered, but I especially loved my ethics classes: the thought experiments, questions about human behavior, and our species’ unique ability to make choices and understand the consequences. Not everybody grows up down the street from a crime family or loses a loved one to the drug business, but through fiction, I can look at those experiences and the choices someone might make under those circumstances and discover how a character makes and rationalizes her decisions.
Who I write
I love writing strong female characters, women who know what they want and go after it, women who know themselves and aren’t afraid to say what they think, do what they want, and fight for what matters to them. They don’t always have everything figured out from the start – because who does? – but, come hell or high water, they will work it out and be better for it.
Why I write
The old answer was honestly: “Because I must.” It was a compulsion. I would write on my laptop, on my parents’ old desktop machines, at the library, on looseleaf, in the backs of my school notebooks, sometimes even on napkins or envelopes. I had so much to say and it wasn’t going to wait!
But I’m a little older now, a little less dramatic, and I have had a little more time and experience to consider exactly why I still write. It’s because I love the process of finding out where my characters will end up when I throw them into crazy, unexpected situations; I love their sarcasm, their cleverness, and their occasionally cheesy sense of humor; but most of all, I love sharing these stories. Writing is an intimate process of self-discovery, but it’s also a wonderful way to connect with others, namely, readers. I have always loved reading, so being on the other side of the writer/reader relationship has been an incredible journey. Finding new ways to engage readers, make them think, and entertain them is a process that constantly encourages me to become better at what I do.
Where I write
Whether writing or editing, I’m almost always working on one thing or another. You can check out my previous books here, and please stop by the blog to see what’s currently on my to-do list and follow along, commiserate, or just say hi!
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