“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
With machete in hand—well, actually a keyboard and occasionally a pen—I am trying to forge that trail. The characters of my novels have haunted my thoughts until I’ve written their lives upon the page. My first two novels are Let the Willows Weep and Daughter of the Mountain, and I’m currently working on my third novel, which centers on the tenuous relationship between three sisters with mercurial natures who are forced to work together to unlock the secrets of their shared past.
For me, writing isn’t a choice but rather an innate need. Always an avid reader with a vivid imagination, I spent many childhood hours with either my face buried between the pages of a book or playing in my rich and carefully crafted world of make-believe. When young, I would lay sprawled across the fat limb of an apple tree reading about Anne Shirley’s spirited adventures in Green Gables; as an eleven-year-old, I sat sun-soaked poolside reading about Pony Boy and the pain of being an outsider. I made it through the uncomfortable moments of puberty with Judy Blume. I learned to enjoy the thrill of the unknown and fear from Stephen King. In college, I learned about love, passionate and unrequited, from the Brontë Sisters. As a young woman, I have counted Jane Austen, Willa Cather, and Edith Wharton among my friends. Books have been my constant companion, creating worlds into which I can escape, dream, and live for a moment outside of my own life.
As an adult, my love for books has only grown. I find I have a deep affinity for Southern fiction now; I love the palpable grit in these stories, which makes the characters feel more alive to me. In my own books, I explore relationships, familial bonds, the choices we make, the multiple perspectives characters can have on one event or reality, and how individuals reconcile their beliefs with their experiences and fates.
My imagination remains in full force, and my make-believe world is usually only one to two thoughts behind the grocery list and the next laundry load. So instead of riding stallions made of sticks and climbing trees-turned-fortresses as I did as a child, now I write. I write the words of the characters that I hear daily, dream about nightly, and listen to intently.
There’s no greater reward for me as a writer than readers discovering my work and finding themselves caught up in the worlds I create, enjoying my stories just as I have loved and gotten lost in so many books myself.