When I was eight, a pen, some paper, a stapler and time spent in the world of make believe was all it took to write a book. By ten, I’d advanced to a typewriter and spent hours alone in my room playing Beatles records for inspiration. That place in my mind where I went to find stories fed something in me. Characters and storylines I didn’t know in real life showed up to entertain and teach and even comfort me. Once I stapled the pages together and the books were complete, I always shared them with my most faithful reader, my mom.
I never stopped writing. Throughout my school years I set the make believe aside and instead filled journals with the stories of my days. The world made more sense to me when I could lay it out on the page. After I graduated from the University of Irvine, CA with a psychology degree, my writing shifted again. Within three years of graduation, my husband and I had two small children. Motherhood was wonderful. It was also challenging and exhausting. I craved the escape onto the page, but not through journaling anymore. Instead I wanted to return to that place in my mind where I’d gone as a child to find stories.
I wrote six unpublished novels. I consider them my practice, how I learned to write. Several of them made the finals of writing competitions, including the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards and the Dahlonega Literary Festival Novel Contest. These manuscripts now live together in all their imperfect yet heartfelt magnificence in a drawer. But at the time of writing, each character felt fully alive to me, as if they came to help me through a phase of my life.
My seventh novel Black Crow White Lie was published by Casperian Books the year both of my children went off to college. The thrill of publishing a book and engaging with readers gave me a wonderful distraction as I adjusted to the empty nest. My novel won Reader Views Literary Award, a CIBA Award, was named first runner-up in the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and was also made into a short film by Chase Michael Wilson.
The same year my book was published, I started writing Magdalena, the novel that brought me to Regal House Publishing. I thought I was writing a ghost story and yet Dottie, this lonely lady who couldn’t have children and desperately longed for them, took over the novel. After the fifteen-year-old neighbor Magdalena showed up and their odd relationship became the center of the story I realized this book was my way of mourning the empty nest. It’s a story about motherhood, or rather an obsession with motherhood. Exploring maternal feelings through Dottie’s longing for a child helped me clarify my grief, and spending time with the odd yet lovable people in the novel’s small town helped pull me out of it. Again, just the right characters came to walk me through a phase of life when I needed them most.
I’m excited for readers to meet Dottie and Magdalena when Regal House Publishing releases Magdalena in the summer of 2023.