Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Unfortunately I do not, but I do remember I was read to a lot as a child. I can remember my parents and grandparents reading books and telling stories, which always sparked my imagination. Reading and writing have always just been things I could do and enjoyed doing. When I was older - whatever age in school I would have been to read these - I read "Where the Red Fern Grows" and "The Diary of Anne Frank." Both of those books were very powerful to me. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is another of my favorites. As an adult I admire Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson - for different reasons obviously. Those who know those writers can appreciate how their works differ from each other, and yet I am fascinated by and enjoy both of them.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, and I wish I still had it and the rest of the series. I wrote them when I was in probably third grade. It was a series of short stories about a little girl named Jenny and her dog. Each story was a different, fabulous adventure.I need to speak with my mom about where those stories are ... because I feel like the world is missing out. Haha
What is your writing process?
I brainstorm a lot beforehand. A lot. I'll plan it out in my head in multiple versions before I ever make a written note. Once I'm comfortable with what I think I want to do, I start putting the ideas down on paper. Sometimes those initial ideas are just in the form of more brainstorming - writing words, phrases, ideas down - other times I just start right into the work. The mental prep though is how I approach any writing assignment regardless if it's a freelance column or an article for work; the prep is the same.
What do you read for pleasure?
These days I mostly read to my kids for pleasure. I love watching them react to new stories or smile and giggle at stories they've heard many times before. Books are such an important tool to have around. All kids and adults should have them available. If I read for myself, I'll read anything by Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson. I also go back and re-read my old favorites such as "Where the Red Fern Grows."
Describe your desk
Organized chaos. That's really the only way to describe it.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote at a young age and then continued. I studied English and Communication in college and have worked at a variety of newspapers, a publishing company, an advertising company and in other editing / writing / marketing roles. I went to college to be a physical therapist but quickly realized my skills were more suited to reading and writing than math and science. I still remember walking into my counselor's office and her asking me what I wanted to do. I said, "I don't know, but I like my English and Literature classes a lot." The rest is history, and here I am.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's therapeutic for me and at at the same time I like the idea of being able to create something that others will enjoy or be able to find comfort in. I also like to use sarcasm and humor to make people laugh.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, let's be honest, some days I'd like to just stay in bed. Alas though, I don't. There's too much to do and see and well, just be. My kids are my inspiration for pretty much everything. I wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to spend time with them as they learn and grow and become these awesome little people. Every day is also a chance to help someone in some way.
What do your fans mean to you?
Having people enjoy what I write is an awesome feeling. Whether it's a book, an article, blog, status update or a review, if I can make people think about something, feel something ... then I am happy. Words have the power to evoke so many emotions and that's my goal with the people who follow me. It's an honor and privilege to have people who want to see what I'm going to write. Without them, writers wouldn't be successful.
What are you working on next?
I have a few things in the mix right now that hopefully will be well received shortly. I'm also always interested in what readers are interested in seeing; if there's an opportunity I can put something together that will help someone in some way or make them laugh, etc. I'm all for hearing those ideas.
Who are your favorite authors?
Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Maya Angelou, Kathryn Stockett, Wilson Rawls, John Grisham, Iris Johansen, Harper Lee, Nicholas Evans ... they've all written something that has impacted me in some way.
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