I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I’ve eaten; even so, they have made me.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read my first words when I was two. By five, I was leading reading circle in Mrs. Cook’s kindergarten class. At nine, I wrote my first action-adventure story about a girl who shipwrecks on an island in Alaska (complete with a custom-designed Strawberry Shortcake-themed cover, courtesy of my mother).
To say words are in my blood misses the mark. I’d counter: words are my blood.
So, an English degree was a natural fit. I taught high schoolers the finer points of Shakespeare and writing and passed on my love of Tolkien and Robert Jordan. After earning a master’s in communications, I wrote newsletters, press releases, and communication plans, trying to inject as much creativity and personality into the dry parts as possible. My rambling path took me into the world of programming websites. I even ran an interior design firm.
Through it all I read: scary stories that kept me up into the wee hours and thrilling fantasies that made me long for a world where magic was real. (Pssst, it is.) I wrote my own stories, novels, and poems: dark, twisted things that leave readers intrigued and disturbed. I won NaNoWriMo. I ate, drank, slept, and breathed in words. So, when a global pandemic took me by the scruff of the neck and said, “Re-evaluate your entire life, silly human!” in the form of a layoff, I chose the only natural path, the one I’d been walking my whole life.
Armed with a shiny, new certificate in editing from the University of Chicago, I hung out my shingle, sharpened my pencil (well, warmed up my keyboard, really), and let the words have their way.