Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was a part-time Army brat growing up. My parents divorced when I was little, and I spent the school year with my mom in the western suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. I spent the summers with my dad, wherever the Army sent him: El Paso, Texas, Norfolk, Virginia, Belgium, Memphis, Tennessee, and Louisiana. I met a lot of different people over those years, but still had school stability that many Army brats lack. It gave me a feel for how people speak and enables me to set the books almost wherever I'd like, since I've been to so many places.
Describe your desk
I have a small desk in our family's library. I can close the pocket doors if one of the kids is playing a loud game or TV show, but usually I leave them open, still part of the family even when I'm immersed in my own world. I chose a small desk because I have a pile tendency: pile of bills, pile of notebooks, pile of volunteer paperwork, etc. With a small desk, the piles can only get so big before I have to deal with them. I also keep a small cat tree next to my desk to discourage Edgar from sitting on my computer. It works about half the time. I have four large bookshelves crammed with books and a medium one with my volunteer and writing materials on it. I have a bulletin bar with inspirational quote tacked up, to-do lists, to-read lists, and other odds and ends. On the walls, I am surrounded by photos and prints of our time in Germany, and if I look over my right shoulder, I can see out our sliding glass door to our lovely backyard and the foothills of the Catalina Mountains.
When did you first start writing?
I received a young author's award when I was in second grade, and, partly inspired by the LM Montgomery "Emily" books, desperately wanted to be a writer for most of my childhood. But as I got older, the joy of writing was replaced by the chore of writing for school. I gave up on that dream. If writing was such a miserable chore, I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life. I focused on science for a long time. Then, about seven years ago, my husband was deployed and I needed an outlet for my worries. I started writing my Magic & Monsters series. But the worries didn't really lessen and the last few years of his Army career were difficult for both of us. Once he retired and we had settled into our forever home, I finally had the mental and emotional capacity to finish my story.
What are you working on next?
Now that Magic & Monsters is almost done, I want to try my hand at a contemporary romance. It all starts with a blind date gone wrong...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Dragging my teenager out of bed. And the cat meowing in my face. Mornings are hard in my house. Coffee makes it better.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, watching TV and movies. The more stories I consume, the easier it becomes to write my own. I catch the rhythms of storytelling and figure out why a particular story works or doesn't. I also volunteer at my kids' schools as part of the PTA and work with an organization that sends food home with kids at risk of food insecurity.
What is your writing process?
I am mostly a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants), but I never start a story before I know my characters backwards and forwards and have a good idea of the key plot points.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love when I get the setting of a scene just right and the words conjure it just how I imagined, where I can almost smell and touch what my words have painted.
Who are your favorite authors?
Anne McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett, Diana Gabaldon, JK Rowling, Oliver Sacks, Stephen Jay Gould
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My mom read to me every night, but the first story I really remember reading myself was one of those awful Dick and Jane books that the school used to use to teach reading. I just remember thinking it was boring and I'd much rather be reading Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
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