What/Who inspired you to write?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a young girl. As a kid, I would write poems and short stories, which I proudly shared with family members. When I was in high school, I would shut myself in my bedroom and write novellas until the cows came home. Which they did, quite frequently, in fact. I know, because our next door neighbors were farmers and I could see the cattle out my window.
It wasn’t until I met my husband, however, that I found the courage to pursue my dream for a living. He’s my biggest supporter and cheerleader. And he’s the only person I’ve ever met who encourages me, to this day, to keep my head in the clouds and my fingers on the keyboard.
Where do you come up with your ideas?
Mostly, my ideas stem from things I witness in real life. Injustices, misunderstandings, harmful messages. You know, the kind of things that really burn me to my core. Then I spend days, months, or even years diving heart-first into that particular issue, peeling it away layer by layer until the injustice is resolved in my book. It probably isn’t good for my blood-pressure, but hopefully it’s good for my writing. And that’s the most important thing, right?
For instance, Out of Bounds stemmed from my own experiences as an athlete, witnessing the lies about beauty shatter some of the strongest people I knew. When I discovered that we weren’t the only athletes impacted by such harmful messages (EDs are 11% more prevalent in athletes than the normal population), I thought the subject had to be confronted.
Do you plot or outline your books before you write them?
Technically, no. I do start off with a few major plot points (you know, the whole: something bad happens, then things get worse, then they get really, really bad). But the fun part is watching my characters make their own decisions and take action to connect those dots on their own. I don’t think most writers admit that, though, for fear they may be involuntarily thrown into a looney bin. After all, who besides writers talk about made-up people who do anything they want? Crazy people, that’s who.
Please don’t commit me.
What’s the hardest part about being a writer?
Lots of people think living such a solitary life surrounded by nothing but silence and computer screens would be the most difficult part of my profession. But, for me, that’s what brings me to life. The countless hours I’ve spent unblinking and unaware of anything outside of my mind and my monitor fill me up and make me fresh. They’re the “me” hours I look forward to each and every day. The hardest part about being a writer is the time when doubt creeps its way into my soul and voraciously takes hold. The time when defeat knocks me to the ground then mocks me for being there. The time when my inner voice is malicious, spouting off the typical run-of-the-mill trash talk you’d fight someone over if they said it out loud. But the things you believe when they come from your own brain.
Wow [shakes head at computer] this is just BAD. Who would ever actually read this junk?
Hardly any writers ‘make it’. What makes you think you’ll be any different?
Career? [Evil laugh] You have no time for a career.
You know, that stuff. Nothing huge. Just the soul-crushing lies that try to strip me of my dream. And the only way to combat those attacks are to continue doing the very thing you’re beating yourself up over. That’s the hardest part.