Who Me?

A few weeks ago I was approached by Chazda Albright, one of my SCBWI members, about doing an interview for her successful blog, Great!Storybook.

My first response was, “Me? Why?”

My second response was, “I’d love to!”

So, if you are interested in an in depth look at writing and SCBWI, please go read my very first interview as an author over at Great!Storybook. Then stay for all the other cool kidlit stuff Chazda has going on there.

 

 

My Quest Has Been Fulfilled

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My typical writing pose.

 

When I started writing about eleven years ago, I used to lie to myself and say I was just doing it for myself. But in the back of my mind I knew I wanted more. I wanted to be published. Badly. And I wanted to be “officially” published. As in see my book(s) in a bookstore. Or at Target. Or the airport.

And to do that, I knew I had to write a damn good story, good enough to get people to want to work with me, to take a chance with me (on me?) and help bring my stories to the world. And the first step to that was getting an literary agent.

As readers to this blog know, my dream of being published first came true when I was selected as a finalist in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2016 anthology and the first chapter of my book Requiem was published. And let me tell you, being published there opened a whole lotta doors I’d never even imagined would open. All of a sudden, agents were contacting me with requests to read the entire book!

Well, long story short, I ended up signing with one of those agents; the lovely Hannah Sheppard from the DHH Literary Agency in London. And the story of how we met and bonded over snow blizzards and speech team competitions is now up over at the Undiscovered Voices blog. Enjoy!

Undiscovered Voices 2016

How five years wasn’t too long to write a book.

It is my distinct honor to tell the world that I’ve been chosen as a semifinalist for the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2016! Coming to this point has been a long, long, long time coming.

Backstory:  Five years ago, the basis of this story came to me and I was immediately excited. This was it! The book that would get me published. See, I’d already written a book about a mother of two and her unborn baby who had the unique ability to see and hear everything happening outside of the womb. I had spent two years purging writing out that story that was so autobiographical (besides not having a plot) that it can never and will never be published.

But this story was different. It was in a new-to-me genre (YA) and had all the elements of a story I loved to read: Mystery, intrigue, history, politics and of course romance.

So I wrote, edited and sent that story out into the world where nobody had the courage time or inclination to tell me that what I’d written was ugly and derivative drivel. But hey – at least it had a plot.

So I read more YA. Not a chore by any means. I spent three years reading all sorts of YA and writing books. I joined SCBWI, went to workshops, conferences and retreats, became the assistant regional advisor then the regional advisor which allowed me to go to even more workshops and more conferences. I subscribed to over twenty writing blogs and listened to podcasts on writing. Basically, I gave myself an MFA the hard but cheap way.

All this time I was writing and rewriting my story. Sending pages of it to my critique group, restructuring the plot, deepening my characters’ wants, needs and fears. I got halfway through writing a new book with an entirely new plot line when I got bored and started over again. And everyday I clung to my mantra: All for the good of the book.

Then finally, I had a finished product. A new book that bears a slight resemblance to my original story (basically only the bad guys’ names stayed the same). A book that I’m really freaking proud of. One that is mysterious, full of intrigue, and has a character who doesn’t trust anybody enough to love them.

And now my story (along with 50 other fabulous writers and illustrators) has been chosen from over 250 submissions for a chance to be broadcasted to agents and editors in the UK and US. And I don’t regret a single minute it took me to get here.

 

My Writing

THE ICE BENEATH ME – 2019 Capital Crime New Voices Award Honorable Mention

Cold case obsessed Bo Parrington’s life fell apart a year ago when she witnessed her mother fall to her death through the ice on the nearby lake. Traumatised, Bo went into a fugue state and disappeared for seventeen days.

When she witnesses a car drive onto the ice and someone force a young man to his death in the frozen water beneath she alerts her policeman uncle who instigates a search.

But with no body found, and Bo’s judgment called into question because of her PTSD, the case is closed.

Bo is sure her mind isn’t playing tricks this time but she’s going to have to use all her cold case cracking skills to prove it…

NO DIRECTION HOME

Set in idyllic southern Germany, NO DIRECTION HOME is the story of a bombing at a refugee shelter and how two girls, Zada fleeing her home in Syria and Vanessa trying to protect hers, come to be there.

Told in dual narratives, both Vanessa and Zada struggle to do the best they can in a world that is changing all around them.

REQUIEM

Finalist in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2016 anthology.

The Cathari family has the power to make Rix, a seventeen year-old former street kid, immortal. To win their blessing she’ll do just about anything they ask. But when they kidnap her supposed-to-be-dead boyfriend, she finds herself in the middle of a centuries old feud, her allegiance torn between the love of her life who abandoned her and the Cathari who can give her everything she needs.

Download the anthology here.