It began with a book my grandmother kept on the shelf above my bed at her house. Its cover was filled with creatures with hairy bodies, sharp-fanged mouths, and baleful yellow eyes. They should have frightened me, but all I wanted was to know what they were and who was going to kill them. Thus began my love affair with fantasy.
I stole my brother's books and worked out a deal with my parents that I would get books in exchange for good grades. Oh, the smell of Borders and Barnes & Nobles. The books on miles of shelves—or so it seemed to a ten year-old. I would pull out a stool, plunk my stack of books down next to me, sort out which ones I wanted to buy and which ones I needed to read as quickly as possible before it was time to leave. I absorbed every story, every character, and one day I thought, I can do this!
I was blessed to have a mother who wrote and was a very good editor, and a father who was always saying, 'That's not possible. Gravity won't allow it.” I forgave him because he had a PhD in physics and he taught me to question my characters and to make them, and their worlds, both realistic and believable. I cried when my mother tried to give me “constructive criticism” after I had presented her with my first novel. I was too young to understand that she was trying to help and that having a complicated protagonist was a good thing.
I got over it, deciding to just keep writing. I began writing my own fantasy fiction throughout my school days because to do anything else drove me insane. A college Gothic Literature class helped me really understand how to weave supernatural elements into a story, balancing them with ordinary characters and vice versa. Reading Matthew Lewis's The Monk convinced me never to write a story with a helpless female protagonist waiting for a man to rescue her.
Short stories and several novels emerged, alongside a burgeoning interest in representing those I wrote about with a paint brush. Readers and teachers kept telling me my writing was getting better. I began attending writing conferences and connected with even more supporters. In one case, I met the editor from www.fictionalcafe.com, who published my art. Most recently, excerpts of Requiem for a Caged Bird were published, again at The Fictional Cafe.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio and grew up on a menagerie-style farm with horses, llamas, goats, ducks, chickens, and a wealth of cats and dogs. I fixed fences, mucked out stalls, and spent hours cutting grass. The sunsets were breathtaking and the lightning storms awesome in their ferocity.
I now live in Mount Vernon,Ohio. It's an old, small city where my family has a lot of history. My grandfather attended Kenyon College, just five miles outside of town, and he is buried there alongside my grandmother and uncle. Requiem for a Caged Bird was written because I needed something fun to work on to distract me from a troublesome novel and the pain in my joints that seemed ever more frequent. Such joy was even more important when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2014. Despite chronic pain and days when my brain doesn't want to work correctly, my family is there to encourage and support me.
I'm determined not to let my Fibro keep me from creating, whether it be writing or painting. If you are a chronic pain sufferer or have other symptoms which cripple you in one way or another, keep doing what brings you joy. And get a dog! :)