I was born in the suburban farm country of upstate New York thirty-odd years ago and became part of the population of the creative world soon after that. By the time I was six, I was filling the pages of pocket-sized hardcover journals with poetry about unicorns and rainbows. By the time I was twelve, those poems had matured enough to win me an honorable mention in a national poetry contest. I received a ten-dollar check and a hardcover book put out by the contest with my poem published inside. Seeing my name in print was a genuine thrill, and I knew then that writing would always have a place in my life.
I continued to write throughout high school and into college, earning my way into advanced placement classes. I attended Emerson College on an acting scholarship, and although theatre became my major focus, I also put my passion for writing into practice.
But in 1999 the lure of writing pulled me back in. One day I got an image in my head of a woman walking through snow. I followed her around for a while, and then another character wandered onto the stage. Six years and 750 pages later, I had my first novel, BEYOND THE MISSISSIPPI, a historical that landed me my agent. Unfortunately, that novel didn't sell. A lot of the feedback we got from editors was that it was unclear whether the book was Adult or Young Adult (YA) fiction because the voice felt YA. So my agent encouraged me to think about writing YA.
By that time I was working on another historical with an American setting, and after attending a conference where all I heard was how American historical fiction doesn't sell, my agent and I decided to go in a different direction. Write about Europe, she said. I started trolling Wikipedia for ideas. One day I clicked a link for something called the Benandanti, and WINTER FALLS was born. Although in its early stages, WINTER FALLS was set in 16th century, after several months I realized it needed to be a contemporary YA instead. And once I started writing YA, I felt like I had found my voice.
The most important thing I've learned as a writer that I'd like to pass along is this: Find your own voice, your own style, and trust your instincts. Stay true to yourself!