Whenever it rained in California, the sunny state where I grew up, we’d call it liquid sunshine. Now that I abide in the damp Pacific Northwest I’ve qualified that theory. You can grow used to anything and rise above every discomfort, I’ve learned. Although the heavens often weep in my evergreen state, I contentedly look for the blue sky waiting just behind the clouds. Pollyanna, I’ve been described, and I remain guilty as accused.
As children, my older brother and I would beg my father for bedtime stories, and he would give them. His deep voice rumbled against my ear as he unfolded stories of exotic places like Oz and Neverland. Even after he closed the book for the night my imagination carried on the tales. When eventually he stopped reading stories, I began creating my own.
Within a few years I’d become storyteller of my neighborhood. The other children would gather around me on our lawn while I invented stories to entertain them. No one, including myself, thought of this as anything unusual. It wasn’t until my sixth-grade teacher pointed out my ability to spin a tale that I and my parents took note. This is how at the age of twelve I decided to become a novelist. The fulfillment of that dream took a few more years than planned, though.
It might not have happened at all if I hadn’t had a thing about flying. As a child I cheered for Dumbo, who proved he didn’t need anyone else’s approval or even a magic feather to soar. You see, Dumbo was a little different. His ears were too big. This made him an object of ridicule, but he silenced his tormentors in the end by believing in himself just the way he was. That’s a struggle I understand on a gut level and a path I’ve trod. Dumbo taught me to believe in myself.
Another literary character taught me to remain childlike. How I longed to soar with Peter Pan to an amazing land of strange and wonderful adventures where children didn’t have to grow up. Looking back as an adult with grown-up responsibilities, I sometimes wonder if Peter wasn’t onto something. There will always be a part of me that holds out for Neverland.
In my imagination, too, I could ride Pegasus as he unfurled his wings across the sky. The haze of centuries gone by only added to the appeal of this bearer of thunder and lightning who had but to strike a hoof to the ground to create a spring from which ran poetry. I have drunk from that spring, and now poetry wells into my soul. My clumsy attempts to release its true beauty always fail, but I must try.
Perhaps with such influences on my younger self, it was inevitable I’d write medieval epic fantasy and that winged horses would fly through the pages of DawnSinger (Tales of Faeraven 1), my debut novel and book one of Tales of Faeraven. The world within DawnSinger, is based on 13th-century Europe. To research my fantasy trilogy, I studied feudal life, castles, and medieval siege warfare.
History has an equal hold on me. Growing up, I loved watching westerns with my father. My mother couldn’t understand the appeal, but she went with us to the California ghost town of Columbia and even boarded a stagecoach. I’ll never forget riding shotgun beside the driver. We were, of course, ‘robbed’ along the way.
I dream of knights and chivalry and of the American West. I’m now moving into writing mystery novels with gothic flair, and naturally my first novel project is set in a castle.
My love of the written word has led me to serve as a judge for several national literary contests. I’m also an active book reviewer. My nonfiction publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press (now David C. Cook) and Pentecostal Evangel. I’m represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary.
I am available as a motivational speaker to church, women’s, and writer’s groups. To learn more, visit my speaker page. My affiliations include American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Northwest Christian Fiction Writers (NCWA).
In my spare time I can be found with my nose in a book, playing in the dirt (otherwise known as gardening), or somewhere off the beaten path. I’m glad you stopped by my virtual home. To receive free audio fiction through my (soon to begin) Story Circle podcast, and to learn more about my books, research, travels, and life as an author, Join my Story Circle. :o)