When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was ten years old, there was a poetry project at my school. I had so much fun with it as a young little poet. After that year, I continued writing poetry and moved on to short stories. It never stopped.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your genre that isn’t so?
That young adult novels are for young adults ONLY. A huge group of my readers are 40+. Target audiences do not equal exclusivity!
Are you a full- time writer or a part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
Technically I am a full-time writer. I work in marketing and public relations as a copywriter, but my novels are separate from that. Together they bring in all of my income.
What have you written so far?
I’ve written two novels for my series, a children’s story, and a handful of articles for local magazines. Also, everything that I write for work. I’m all over the place really!
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I always start with an outline. I need to be organized in order to move forward with a story. Although I save character names for the end.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Before I launched my career in writing and marketing, I was actually on track to be a nurse. I went to nursing school, became a certified nurse assistant, a phlebotomist, and an IV technician. It was back-breaking, feet-aching work and at the end of the day I was exhausted. By my second year at a doctor’s office, I felt burned out. So I dropped everything at 22 and started over. Apparently, I did the right thing! I’ve also worked in sales and customer service as a teen. It was… humbling, to put it nicely.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
With pleasure. My book is titled State of Grace, and it is a historical and young adult fiction novel that follows Grace in her hometown of Centralia, Pennsylvania. Based on true events, you will read about Grace’s life growing up in the ruins of a coal mining town that still clings to life after the underground fire that exploded in 1962.It’s a tragedy, a coming-of-age, and a romance story all in one. In the nicest way possible, I really hope that it makes my readers cry.
Tell us more about your main character. What inspired you to develop this character?
Grace is a reflection of myself. I’ve dealt with some very horrific experiences of my own, yet I made it out alive and kicking. I wanted to write a story about a young woman going through hardships all alone in the world, but coming out on the other side like a phoenix rising from the ashes. I hope that many young women and girls can relate to Grace in some way.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?
I love this question! I’d love for Florence Pugh to play Grace. Timothee Chalamet would make a great Joseph. I imagined Bill as Sean Astin. Rita would have to be Toni Collette. And I always envisioned Mr. Duncan as Morgan Freeman while I was writing it! Finally, Sully would absolutely have to be played by… an unheard of rising star. That would be a breakout role for sure.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Writing this book was therapeutic for me. I experienced loss, love, and healing through Grace’s words, and I feel almost as if I was reborn because of it. In these pages, lie pieces of my heart.