|I 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.)
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.
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.
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