050I was born in Rhode Island and I’m pretty sure I had a pencil in my hand straight out of the womb. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Did I finish all of them? Nah. There always seemed to be a better story to share.When I was in 6th grade, my all-time favorite TV show debuted, The A-Team. I was hooked on the suspense with only a few episodes. Sometime in the next two years I wrote my first 100+ page story, which turned out to be A-Team fan fiction. I had a blast putting that story together. Mr. Cannell went on to bring me several more suspense-filled shows through the years that followed and I got hooked on them all.During my last two years of high school, every book I read outside of required school reading was on the Vietnam War. I specifically focused on stories that shared the soldiers’ experiences. During this time, I also continued writing stories, more fan fiction for all the shows I watched. (I was the walking TV guide back then.)

Me on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

Me on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

College took my parents’ money and my sanity. I made good friends, studied hard and decided on a major: English Literature. During this time I interned with the New England Patriots and met my best friend who went on to nag…er, I mean encourage me to pursue publication.

Chris working on a new story
Me working on a new story.

I wrote my first romance, although at the time I didn’t realize it was a romance, called Breaking Free and it was about a football player and a singer. (It’s been long buried under the floorboards, only to be brought out when I want to remind myself how far I’ve come!)This is also the time I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and my fate was sealed. I LOVED everything about this book and when I finished it, I decided I wanted to create characters that affected my readers the way Jamie and Claire affected me. With my own cheering section led by my best friend, I set out to learn all I could about crafting an intriguing story. In 1999, I joined Romance Writers of America and set out to fulfill my destiny!As a member of RWA, I began learning so much about writing and the writing life.

Me Shooting at the FBI

At the same time, I entered graduate school and learned all I could about being an effective teacher. In 2001, I received my Master’s in Education and promptly moved to Austin, Texas to be near the smart members of my family who’d moved out of New England around the same time I had. In 2003, I won my first writing contest and decided to approach my writing as my 2nd job. I happily pursued publication until my dream came true eight years later. I received my first contract in December 2011. In the years between my first submission and my 1st book hitting the cyber shelves, I saw many writer friends give up for a variety of reasons. I went through several critique partnerships (until I got the AMAZING CPs I have now!). I’ve had tons of people tell me they would’ve given up if they’d been writing as long as I had without receiving a contract. But you know what? I’m a storyteller. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. I can’t give it up because even on my worst writing day, it’s still the best job I could ever have.

Who Left Us Too Early:
Stephen J. Cannell
Kathleen Givens