- Tell us about yourself:
We recently settled in a small town a couple of hours or so away from my hometown, Huntsville, Alabama.
It was an experience moving from Minnesota during the middle of winter. Kudos to my husband for loading the moving truck in subzero temperatures, contending with snow and frost. I helped where I could, but he did most of the heavy lifting. Fortunately, my family rallied to help us at our destination. It was great to have extra hands, especially unloading what my oldest brother dubbed “The International Library of Cummins.” Our youngest son and I love books. And we homeschool, so that adds to the collection as well.
We have two older sons who are in their early twenties and married. We homeschooled the middle son through his last year of high school. Not long after graduating, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Marines. The oldest and his wife are currently expecting their second baby at the beginning of the new year, and the first precious bundle just celebrated his first birthday. We’re excited and look forward to seeing them at Christmas.
- Who is your favorite author and book?
I have loved Edgar Allen Poe since my early teens. In fact, my son recently discovered the brilliance of Poe and asked to watch PBS’s American Masters hour and half Poe special with me. We both really enjoyed it. So, as you might have already guessed, The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite book (The Poetry of Robert Frost is a close second).
- What is your preferred genre?
For me, I’m more drawn to certain story elements than I am to a particular genre – as a reader and as a writer. However, fantastical elements are one of those things. So often, I’m reading, writing, or watching something in the speculative genre. I do have a fondness for the peculiar, rebels, tech, theoretical science, humor, heart, and suspense. Most of the stories I write fall into the science fiction category, or one of its sub-genres (like *punk).
- How did you start this journey to become a writer?
I started writing poetry as a young girl. In college, I attempted to write my first novel (a thriller). It wasn’t until Spring of 2016 that I completed my first short story, The Warehouse Tour. And then in December of 2017, I finished the first draft of Snow Globe Travelers (known then as Life in Snowglobia).
- What have you written so far?
Mostly short stories. My debut novel, a middle-grade science fiction story, releases this spring.
- Tell us about your current book.
Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy is about a girl who stumbles upon a mysterious snow globe shop that connects to other worlds. By mistake, Sarah drops the globe tethered to Earth.
Unable to return home, Sarah ventures into one of the worlds for help. But her presence does not go unnoticed and she becomes the target of Malvine, a genetically-engineered warrior with an army of eight-foot-tall carnivorous plant hybrids. Malvine wants to use the shop’s connections to wage war.
It’s the first book in a four-book series.
- What is the inspiration for your current book?
I started writing Snow Globe Travelers in April of 2012. At the time, I was following a blog that hosted weekly flash fiction challenges. One week, a short list of titles was provided for the challenge and one of those titles inspired me. I didn’t know then because I wasn’t in the same place with my faith as I am now, but the beginning of this story was the beginning of much deeper journey for me. It’s definitely a God thing.
- Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Toady, the fanged fungi! He’s lovably outlandish, unexpected, and loyal.
- Is there anything of you in that character?
Toady has a bit of my silly and forgiving nature, along with my affinity for irony and puns. But he makes it all his own.
- What sets your book apart?
Sarah, my main character, is an Austrian girl of mixed heritage. She lives on a goat farm in the Austrian countryside with her mother and her mother’s parents. Her father disappeared from her life before she was three, but Sarah doesn’t know why and her mother won’t talk about it. Finding her father and uncovering what happened is a strong subplot in the book series, and, as readers will discover, is why Sarah ends up on the path she does. The first book is about Sarah learning that love is a choice and fulfilling our purpose in this life requires us to embrace who we are – flaws, bad choices, and all.
Setting the book in Austria was important to me because of its role in the history of snow globes. An Austrian man named Erwin Perzy invented the first snow globe around 1900. His company, Original Vienna Snow Globes, is still in operation today.
The dash of strange and whimsical with theoretical science, I believe, also set this story apart. I intend to showcase some of the research that went into this book in a companion activity book. For now, you can get a peek at some of it on Snow Globe Travelers’ Instagram profile (@snowglobetravelers).
- What’s your favorite part in the book?
I can’t pick just one. If I could, I’d be rewriting the rest of the book – again.
- What was the most difficult part to write?
The emotional ones. Suspense, silly moments, strange humor, even action scenes, are all easier for me than the tender moments between characters. I have to see and feel a scene, really immerse myself, to write it. On the days it’s hard to get started, I’ll often fire up Dragon, stand at my desk with my eyes closed, and just dictate words. The result is always a mess, but it gets the ideas down and editing something is easier than editing nothing.
- What was your favorite book to write?
The only one I’ve written. Ha!
I could consider my short stories, but I’m terrible at picking favorites. Each story has some part of my heart. I love them all for different reasons.
- How do you write? Do you have a set time or place? How many hours a day?
I’m a tinkerer. My process is constantly evolving and changing. The only consistencies, thus far, are detailed plotting and project planning from outside the story. My goal is not just to craft a great story, but to craft an experience that incorporates all the details from cover-to-cover and other elements beyond – as I learn to incorporate and develop those elements further.
- Why did you want to be a writer?
For me, writing is a need. It’s my voice. People may not notice, because I can articulate well at times, but I often struggle to find the words I mean to say. It’s part of why I’m a slow writer and need multiple rounds of revisions (and repeat myself, among other things).
- How do you get your ideas?
God, from whom all blessings flow. 🙂
- What do you have planned next?
I’m working on a companion activity book to release with Snow Globe Travelers. In addition to coloring pages, puzzles, and hands-on activities, it’ll feature interesting facts and insights from all the research I did to construct the story. We’re a homeschool family, so it was important to me to offer a fun extension of the story with an educational aspect.
- What advice would you give new writers?
The world is constantly changing. We are constantly changing. There are many paths to choose from and a plethora of opinions await at every turn, but only God knows the direction you should take. Listen, learn, experiment, and pray. Discover your voice, your road. You are you for a reason.
- How can readers get in touch with you?
I love to hear from readers! Please feel free to connect with me through my website/blog, newsletter, or social media. I also blog on LandsUncharted.com, a multi-writer blog focused on fantasy and science fiction for teens. Stop by and say hi.
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