Yes, I'm one of "those people" who has always been a writer! I told stories from my earliest days and my favorite childhood activity was going to the library to check out books. I read and wrote every day--at restaurants, as a passenger in the car, and while my parents shopped at stores. It was common for me to disappear at family gatherings to write. With my friends, I created a group called The Writers Club to write shorts stories and critique each other's work.
In high school, I became editor of my school's literary magazine and had articles published in the local newspaper--but I wanted to touch lives through books as they had for me, so I was devastated to learn being a novelist wasn't a "real job." I put my passion on hold when I went to Iowa State University, majored in journalism and mass communication, and enjoyed hosting an entertainment show on the campus TV station. English was my minor so I wrote for my college magazine and had several articles published in a newspaper where I interned for two summers.
I graduated in 2002 and worked in both television and radio for the next few years. In 2003, I married my college sweetheart, had a son in 2008, and a daughter in 2011.
My life-long ambition never wavered, though. I joined the Romance Writers of America in 2005 and submitted my first manuscript in 2006, followed by another in 2007. When publication fell through, I took a hiatus to be a stay-at-home-mom. My RWA membership expired in 2009, but I re-joined in 2013 after my oldest child started kindergarten. Every November, writers are encouraged to join NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words in one month). I'd never participated but decided to try. Although it wasn't a romance like my previous books, an inspirational story came to me in a dream so I immediately got to work. It was literally a "dream come true" when I was offered a contract in December 2013 for The 20th Christmas. The novel was released at Barnes & Noble on October 1, 2014, and on November 6th I was ranked an Amazon Best Selling Author when The 20th Christmas reached a #3 spot. On Black Friday it reached the Top 10 list again (#8 Christian Fiction) and a third & fourth time in December 2014.
In 2015, I signed a contract for my second inspirational novel, Caged Dove, about a woman who was bullied as a young girl and returns to her hometown after being gone for fifteen years. A dramatic chain of events weave her life with a teenager contemplating suicide. I spoke on a national radio talk show about my personal experience with this subject, and was featured in print and online articles.
I spent 2016 with my youngest child (rather than publishing another story) since she started kindergarten in the fall of 2017. Thank you so much for all of the emails requesting another book! I returned to contemporary romance with a novel I submitted in 2018 and now plan to write a couple of manuscripts each year for the rest of my life!