Who I am.
I am an author who also works in marketing and technical publishing for a non-profit. I am a former educational professional, having taught at both the middle school and collegiate levels for almost a decade. I have a Bachelor's of Arts in English with a writing minor from Kent State University and a Master's of Education from Baldwin Wallace University.
One of my childhood dreams was to be a published author. I partipated in NaNoWriMo 2013 with my 8th grade students and watched my dream come true. What resulted from a month long of daily writing was a 91,000 word novel! After student approval, I self-published my first book, The Prophecy: The Lucia Chronicles Book 1, in January 2014, using Amazon's Print on Demand publishing service: CreateSpace.
Besides writing, I enjoy yoga, reading, crafting, taking my dog for hikes, making candles for my shop The Bookish Flame, and watching Doctor Who. I have lived my entire life in the Cleveland, Ohio area.
I primarily write YA in the science-fiction/fantasy genre, but I have also been known to write and illustrate children's picture books, or whatever strikes my fancy. I conduct programs and workshops about my books and the writing process. I also vlog about book sub box unboxings, YA and MG book reviews, NaNoWriMo and fun, random things like Comic Con.
What I do.
Q & A
Author Question and Answer
Questions submitted by my 7th & 8th grade students. (2014)
Q: What made you want to write your book?
My 8th graders were participating in NaNoWriMo and I wanted to participate with them, so offering them advice and support was a major factor. Also, it’s been a dream since I was a young child to write my own book. I’d attempted many times, but always seemed to lose interest.
Q: Why did you name it what you named it?
The book is named after the protagonist, Lucia Giroux. The word chronicle means to tell about an event in chronological order. Lastly, the title for Book 1: The Prophecy came about because it is a key element to the plot line of the book as well as the series.
Q: Are there plot twists in the story?
Oh, there are plot twists (wicked smile). Plot twists are a great element because they add suspense, keep the reader on her toes, and move the story along!
Q: How hard was it to think of your book?
Actually, it wasn’t hard at all. Once you force yourself to sit down and actually do it, it’s a lot easier than when it is just all floating around inside your head!
Q: Did you ever get writer’s block? How did you overcome that?
During Book 1 I never had writer’s block. It’s almost like the story took on a mind of its own and I was simply the venue that it took to get on the page. However, during Book 2 I’ve been quite busy with the publication and marketing for Book 1, so sometimes I have been stumped. What has helped me overcome writer’s block is two things: 1) Re-read what was previously written and look for potential plot holes or elements that can help move the story forward. 2) Sleep on it.
Q: Did you use real life connections in your story?
I think as a writer, or artist, or anyone who creates—you can’t help but rely on real life connections. Not so much the events themselves, but the feelings and emotions of yourself and the people around you help bring your characters to life turning them from a 2-dimensional thing on a page to a 3-dimensional being.
Q: When did you feel the need to publish your book?
I gave my manuscript to one of my 7th grade students who likes to read—particularly dystopias—and asked him to edit it. He began to edit it, but instead ended up just reading the entire thing in 4 days (he kind of fell off the editing band wagon). His enthusiasm reading it made me feel it had potential.
Q: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I’ve wanted to be an author my entire life, well basically. I think ever since I picked up a book and started reading at the age of 3 or so, that I’ve wanted to be “like that,” even if I didn’t know what it was. Over the years, I’d start stories and lose interest. I took some writing classes in college, but sometimes they made me feel like my writing wasn’t good enough. Then I started reading the dystopia genre in the last few years and realized, “I could do this.”
Q: Do you like drawing?
I do like drawing. I’m great at replicating cartoons. I can do some people, but they don’t look too life-like. I was always a doodler in school and now I also teach my students art class and that’s been a lot of fun!
Q: If you could fix anything you wrote in your book, what would it be?
I would proof probably—again, after about six times I finally drew the line. Honestly, as the author, I think I would always be able to find something to fix or make better.
Q: Did you use the world around you for inspiration or did you make up your inspiration?
A little bit of both. Books I’ve read and loved, a line from a book we’d studied the month before in class, emotions I’ve felt, photographs I’ve come across on the Internet---it all kind of mixes together to form my inspiration. (For more on inspiration see my blog post entitled “Inspiration” on Tumblr.)
Q: How did you come up with the characters in the book?
I don’t feel like authors come up with characters. I think the characters already exist out there somewhere and that they come to you demanding that their story be told.
Q: How many books will be in the series?
I am planning for The Lucia Chronicles to be a trilogy—so 3 books.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I love the dystopia genre and for the most part I mainly read young adult literature. For a while I was kind of obsessed with those post-apocalyptic shows on educational channels which also lent some inspiration. I also really loved reading books like Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie, The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, and—my all-time favorite book EVER—The Giver by Lois Lowry.
Q: Do you have a spouse?
Nope. Not yet anyways! :)
Q: What was your favorite chapter to write?
I don’t think I necessarily have a favorite chapter, but I do have a favorite scene…I’ll try not to give too much away (no spoilers here) but my favorite scene is the climactic scene between Lucia and Jack. It was just such a turning point for Lucia and her development as a person.
Q: What is your day job?
I have two day jobs. I am a full-time middle school language arts teacher and I am a part-time professor at a college where I basically teach teachers.
Q: What’s your middle name?
The “L” stands for Lynn.
Q: How long did the book take?
Since I participated in NaNoWriMo, the writing of the book was limited to the month of November. Editing and proofing took all of December and almost all of January. Please note this is in no way typical, but NaNoWriMo provides a lot of motivation and support to reach the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days; however, I got a bit carried away and wrote 91,000 words in 30 days. I highly recommend participation in NaNoWriMo. See http://nanowrimo.org/ for more information.
Q: Who is your favorite character in your book?
My favorite character in the book—ugh such a difficult question that I have a feeling may change with each of the subsequent books—but right now my favorite character is Nicolas Pernelli. He offers Lucia so much support and it is always unconditional. I guess I made him my version of the perfect guy!
Q: In 10 years where do you see yourself in the writing world?
In 10 years I hope that the Lucia Chronicles trilogy will be long finished and that many young adults have read and enjoyed it. I also hope that I will have ventured into other writing challenges like another series, a children’s picture book…or even exploring another genre—like fantasy.