Once upon a time, I was the girl who made your latte at the Starbucks drive-thru. And your bank teller. And the girl who handed you your chicken biscuit at the local Chick-Fil-A. I was the girl whose drawer was always balanced down to the penny, the girl who tucked her massive curls under mandatory hats, the girl who learned how to keep a smile on her face for customer after customer because, really, one smile can make a huge difference in someone's day.
Those jobs were important, and I was grateful for them. At the end of monotonous days, though, I couldn't help but wonder if there was something out there that used more of me than just my smile, or my patience, or my ability to balance a drawer.
I've always loved to create, and at that point in time, I'd been neglecting that side of myself for a while. I realized I had a strong desire to imagine worlds and characters, to find the precise words to convey them, to arrange my ideas on the page in just the right way. I've always loved puzzles, and the challenge of being disciplined, perseverant, and patient until I get them right. One day, it occurred to me that writing a novel would require all of those things and more. Bonus: I could do it from my desk at home, and I didn't need much—except time and determination—to get started.
So I sat down one day and got to work, inspired by the huge worlds of Harry Potter and Lost. I never looked back.
Fast forward (several) years later: on this website, you'll see only the tip of the iceberg. You won't see the quiet, early mornings or the late, bleary-eyed nights. You won't see the dirty coffee mugs, the journals filled with revision notes, the manuscripts set aside for now (or forever), the headaches and heartbreaks, the string of no that led to a life-changing yes.
If you pick up The Sandcastle Empire, if you read it—and I don't take for granted that you will—thank you. And if you're a writer currently in the midst of a string of no, hang in there. Only you can write that book, and I'm rooting for you.
For most of my life, people knew me as a musician, not a writer—I grew up singing, playing the piano and guitar, and generally dreamed of being on Broadway. Aaaaaand then I realized…yeah, you have to know how to *dance* to be on Broadway, usually.
I'm not a dancer. At all. Picture Elaine from that iconic Seinfeld episode, and you basically have me.
I can quote only one movie, and it is Waiting for Guffman.
I've always been rather into foreign languages. I minored in Spanish, spent two summers in Shanghai learning Mandarin, and took a semester of Japanese…but I'm not fluent in any of them, because I never could pick just one to focus on. It thrills me to no end that The Sandcastle Empire will be translated in so many languages.
I once auditioned for Survivor, and would go on The Amazing Race in a heartbeat—my sister would have to do all the heights challenges, though. AND ANY CHALLENGES INVOLVING SNAKES, BECAUSE NO.
I have had more traumatic haircuts than anyone I know, so if you ask…be prepared for a VERY LONG story that includes such phrases as "Medusa hair" and "hair ripped out by giant drill" and "stylist left in tears".