Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a small Native American reservation in Wisconsin. Growing up in such a small community there wasn't much to do in your down time, so I read. Growing up I was hard pressed to find a book with a strong Native American main character that I could see myself in, so now as an adult I write the books I wish I could have had as a kid.
When did you first start writing?
I always joke that my career ass an author began at 5 years old, before I could even write. I had always loved books, and the art of storytelling. I would tell my family elaborate tales and make them write them down and save them for me. Once I learned how to write for myself it picked up from there and I've been writing ever since, winning many short story and essay contests. It wasn't until I turned 20 that I decided to pursue that passion and turn a lifelong dream into a career!
What's the story behind your latest book?
Dream Catcher was inspired by the very recent controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation. As a Native American, that whole ordeal had a big impact on my people. Many of my friends and family were able to go out to Standing Rock to help out and protest, but having a 6 month old and having just found out I was expecting my second son it wasn't in my families best interest to go. So I looked for other ways I could support, one of which was writing. The videos and photos circulating online compelled me to think about what direction the world is heading, and the idea for Dream Catcher was born!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Initially I wanted to go the traditional route, and I gave it a shot. I was let down, though, by the lack of diverse books and the obstacles diverse authors face when going the traditional route. There are stories of companies completely white washing stories, changing names and putting models on the cover that aren't the same race as the main characters. Having seen all of that, and tried the process of sending my idea to multiple agents I decided to take my career into my own hands. Doing so gave me complete creative control, I choose the cover, I choose the characters and I don't need approval from anyone. I can write the stories I want to, and feel good about it. My hope is that readers out there will feel good about them too!
What are you working on next?
My newest novel is Archive a young adult book available November 1st!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing I spend my time with my son and my fiance', usually binge watching Netflix or going to the movies! (and reading of course)
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