I grew up in northern Illinois, attended college in my hometown and now I’m raising my family here. Some people might think that’s a bit boring, but I’m loving it. I majored in history in college because I loved history. Someday, I might write a historical novel. I’m married (for 10 years!) to a great guy, and we have three awesome kids. I stay home with them, and we home-school. Every day is a complete adventure. We like to spend a lot of time outside, roaming around our neighborhood with our little dog. I’m sure that we’ll even be outside every day in the winter. In my spare time, I read. A lot. If someone recommends a book to me, I’ll at least give it a try. There are very few books that I don’t finish. I also like to sew and bake. Randomly, I think the most perfect food in the world is a baked sweet potato topped with goat cheese, honey and roasted grapes.
Growing up, I read my way through the public library and discovered the way books can transport you to other places. In high school, I had a creative writing teacher who taught me how to draw out a story and put it into form. Even though I really liked to write, I never saw myself as a writer. Majoring in history let me work on my nonfiction writing skills, but I never entirely gave up fiction writing. One year, I discovered National Novel Writing Month and was hooked. Write a novel in a month? Cool. So I did. Three times. Then those finished manuscripts sat on my hard drive waiting for me to do something with them. Right after my third child was born, one of my friends announced that one of her books was being published through a small e-press. With her encouragement, I decided to give it a try. And got rejected. I listened to their advice, cleaned up the manuscript and resubmitted. They accepted it, and that became my first novel In the Spotlight.
All writers have their own ‘writing process.’ What’s yours like?
I am always on the look-out for inspiration. Sometimes I’ll hear a conversation that will spark an idea, or read a newspaper article that will make me think of a character. I write all these story scraps down so I don’t forget them. When I start a new project I always outline. I throw in bits of dialogue that I’ve thought through already and lots of descriptions for reference as I write. I try to keep a character list handy as well so I don’t forget little details. As for the actual writing, I try to cram it in whenever I can. That can be hard with three little kids, but as they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
P.S. How do you pursue your happiness, friends? I’d love to hear your story, so feel free to send them to mellow1422 (at) aol (dot) com!