Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Well I am originally from San Diego, CA and most of my family still lives there, even though I spent a three quarters of my life in Missouri. The small town of Warrensburg, MO that I spent the most of my childhood is referenced a few times in my books as well as San Diego and Kansas City, MO (where I currently live). Each place I've lived has shaped me as a person through the memories I hold from those places. As a writer, who we are has a tendency to come out through our work. So as I tend to use some of the places I love the most or attached to the most as locations or settings. It makes it easier to convey things with the familiarity.
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When did you first start writing?
I started seriously writing in middle school. It was Harry Potter fan fiction at first. When I realized I was starting to only use the locations of Hogwarts and London to convey these characters and events I created on my own, I broke away from it with a small collection of short stories I still have today called Short Stories by a poet. Not very creative to say the least, but I did win a few writing contests back in high school with the short stories and poems that accompanied them.