I am a 28-year-old writer who began to come up with stories when I was 11 years old. It all started in the sixth grade with the Writer’s Workshop program, creating worlds and plots inspired by movies, books, and video games. At 16 years old, I set out on my first novel-writing endeavor, Sparrow Love—the tortured remains of which I have lain to lay to rest until I have honed my craft.
In my senior year of high school, feeling burnt out on academics, I enlisted in the Army Reserve for a change of pace and a bit of adventure. After I graduated high school in 2007, I got what I asked for. Joining the army allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself without too much book learning involved. It also allowed me to see, firsthand, what the United State’s war in Iraq looked like in ’08-’09. I began to receive counseling, and developed a passion for helping people as I had been helped. I wanted to become a Psychologist.
In the summer of 2012 between graduating with an AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences and starting on a BA in Psychology, I had unheard-of free time on my hands. I decided to return to my writing pursuits, and began to build a new world with rules different from our own. It all started with a map I crafted following Holly Lisle’s Maps Workshop. Then, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—which I read like textbooks and enjoyed every minute of—I came to craft a world I would want to live in, with a system of magic I would want to be part of. Finally, I plotted the barebones outline of the stories I wanted to tell. The first plot points I came up with take place when my main character, Haylee, was an adult. However, Haylee’s childhood demanded that I write about it first.
From January to October of 2013, I wrote Book One of the Children of the Revolution series while taking a full load of classes. In November, my cousin Jolene prompted me to participate in NaNoWriMo, and so I wrote the sequel in one month—success! For the next few months, I wrote the third and fourth book. Upon graduating with my BA, but not wanting to immediately pursue a Masters degree, I decided to focus on writing instead. I finally decided I had enough distance from the original story to begin to edit. I spent ten months editing in 2015, then began querying agents in 2016. Over the months, out of the 79 queries I sent, I received 26 rejections. Finally, I resigned myself to self-publishing and hired an editor, Cara Lockwood (her editing site is Edit-My-Novel.com), for Book One. She gave me necessary pointers to make my book more excellent and salable. In June 2016, I set out to give my first book another sweep of revisions, with the goal of completing it by New Years. After lots of peer feedback, I polished the book.
Then, with the guidance of courses by Mark Dawson and Bryan Cohen, I figured out the mechanics of self-publishing and set out to be a professional author. My book is distributed to Amazon with CreateSpace and everywhere else by IngramSpark or LightningSource. In a finale of efforts, I released Haylee own Kahnuh and the Sage of Land Dragon Mountain (trade paperback and e-book) on Amazon—click here!
Above: I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, about to get back to work, I promise!
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