It started when I was in the fourth grade, when I won the Young Author’s award for a book titled “How Rabbits Got Short Tails.” I was so excited. Then in the fifth grade I won for a book about an alien named Rainbow entitled “Rainbow on West Avenue.” I got to meet real authors and other winners. It called to me. I probably began 15 books that year. Writing was what I wanted to do.
I had been writing poems in the ninth grade. Lots of poems. One day I received an envelope in the mail from my eighth grade English teacher with a magazine and a note that said, “You are now a published author!” She had submitted a poem that I had done for an assignment (and one I didn’t really care for), to Read magazine and they edited and published it.
After that, I regularly wrote poetry for high school magazines and publications. The Lodestar and Inklings, among others. I loved writing short stories, and I began more novels. Mostly faraway places with whimsy. I was inspired by The Secret Garden, and Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many more.
When I began adulting, I changed my patterns to art and painting. But I still had stories that begged to be told. I wrote my first full-length novel about a mythical tribe of cannibals set in Belize. Believe it or not, it was a love story. My best friend, Terri, was my first beta reader. She and I met often to discuss the book, and edited it over buffalo wings and cokes at Applebee’s. When she lost her battle with cancer, however, I put the book away. It was too hard.
So I began a journey of YA fantasy fiction. My next novel was more of a novelette, but a great story that I plan to turn into a trilogy one day. Then I had a dream. It was ONE scene with tons of understood backstory, but as I opened my eyes at 6am on a Sunday, I saw credits scrolling. I knew it was a book. So I got up, against my weak protesting to sleep, and I wrote for 13 hours. The Key of F was written in two and a half weeks. It’s sequel, The Queen’s Heart, was also written in two and a half weeks; but the ending book, The Last Rescue, was half done for a year. I kept changing the way I wanted to end it.
I started going to conferences and joining groups, like Saavy Authors, Missouri Writer’s Guild, Kansas City Writer’s Guild, and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. I entered into my first writing contest, Ink & Insights 2016, and made it into the top ten winners at number 8. Networking and learning can mean the difference between a starving artist and a well-connected author. I have loved getting to meet all the people and receive all the feedback I have gathered.
At this time, I am happy to say that The Key of F is being represented by Stephanie Hansen at Metamorphosis Literary Agency (where I work as well), and it is out with publishers now. And… I finally know how I want the third book to end. I am deeply invested in the process. I hope you enjoy my Freedom Fight Trilogy when it makes its way onto the bookshelves of your favorite store.
Until then… all my best.